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OC.AUS* R 7^2 a 





Lombard C. Jones 


November 29 t 1933 



This edition consists of 200 
copies and is issued to subscribers 
only. . 

The No. of this copy is — LLiU — 

- Mi^ 

For Fourneaux read throughout Furneaux. 





Assisted by MARION E. BUTLER ; with a Chapter on the Osteolcxsy, 

BY J. G. GARSON, M.D., Vice-President Anthropological 

Institute, and Lecturer on Comparative Anatomy 

AT Charing Cross Hospital; and a 


EDWARD B. TYLOR, Esq., D.C.L., F.R.S. 

Reader in Anthropology at the University of Oxford^ Vice-President of the 
Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, etc., etc. 

With Numerous Autotype Plates, prom Original Drawings made by 




Printbd by Stbphen Austin and Sons. 


EDWARD B. TYLOR, Esq., D.C.L., F.R.S., 

Reader in Anthropology at the Univeniiy of Oxford, Vice-President of the Anthropo- 
iogictU Inttitute of Great Britain and Ireland, etc., etc. 

In the present work, the recorded knowledge as to the 
extinct native race of Tasmania has been brought 
together with, I think, an approach to absolute com- 

If there have remained anywhere up to modem times 
men whose condition has changed little since the early 
Stone Age, the Tasmanians seem to have been such a 
people. They stand before us as a brandy of the 
Negroid race illustrating the condition of man near 
his lowest known level of culture. Tribes who like 
them knew no agriculture nor pastoral life are common 
enough, indeed this is the most convenient definition 
of savages. Many tribes in the late Stone Age 
have lasted on into modem times, but it appears 
that the aborigines of Tasmania, whose last survivors have 
but just died out, by the workmanship of their stone 
implements rather represented the condition of Palaeolithic 
Man. Years ago, the evidence already pointed towards 
this important point in the history of civilization. In 1865, 
in comparing the implements of the Drift with those found 


elsewhere, I put on record as follows: — "The Tasmanians 
sometimes used for cutting or notching wood a very rude 
instrument Eye-witnesses describe how they would pick 
up a suitable flat stone, knock off chips from one side, 
partly or all round the edge, and use it without more 
ado ; and there is a specimen corresponding exactly to 
this description in the Taunton Museum."^ 

The information here given is on excellent authority, 
having been obtained in answer to my inquiries of Dr. 
Joseph Milligan and other representatives of Tasmania at 
the International Exhibition of 1862. But it would not 
have been safe to assume without further information that 
the Tasmanians were not in the habit of making stone im- 
plements of higher types for other purposes. Now, however, 
further evidence has come in, showing that the implement 
in question (see Plates XX. and XXI.) is typical, and the 
description of the making fully to the purpose. In the 
present work, the excellent dissertation published by Mr. R. 
Brough Smyth in his " Aborigines of Victoria " is condensed, 
and beside his results is placed a statement of the evidence 
of Mr. James Scott, Mr. Morton AUport, and other competent 
authorities, all agreeing that the stone implements were 
shaped and edged not by grinding but merely by striking 
off flakes, this being generally if not invariably done on 
one side only. The implements thus bear a resemblance 
to those flakes trimmed on one side, which are known to 
archaeologists as scrapers. It is thus apparent that the 
Tasmanians were at a somewhat less advanced stage in 
the art of stone implement making than the Palaeolithic 

* "Early History of Mankind," London, 1865, p. 195. 


men of Europe, who habitually shaped many of their flint 
implements into more regular and effective forms by skilful 
alternate flaking on either side. Moreover, it will be seen 
that these descriptions of the Stone Age in modem Tasmania 
contribute evidence bearing on the interesting problem, how 
the men of the Quaternary Mammoth-period used their 
rude stone tools and weapons. Careful study of these 
Palaeolithic implements, while clearly illustrating the practice 
of holding them grasped in the hand (possibly often with 
a piece of hide or other coating as a hand-gfuard), has not 
shown that they were ever fixed in wooden handles. The 
question thus arises whether the art of hafting a hatchet, 
which to us modems seems so obvious, may have been 
unknown to the primitive savages of Europe, and only 
have arisen toward the Neolithic age. We are now 
able to say that such ignorance in tool-craft was quite 
possible among the prehistoric Drift-men, fw it actually 
prevailed among the natives of Tasmania. According to 
the testimony of numerous observers, they gjrasped their 
stone implements in the hand, but never fixed them in a 
handle, unless where foreigners, whether savage or civilized, 
had introduced this improvement. On the whole, the life 
of the Tasmanians may give some idea of the conditions 
of the earliest jM-ehistoric tribes of the Old World, allowing 
for a milder climate on the one hand, but a want of the great 
animals on the other, and remembering that the modem 
savage was in some arts below the ancient, for there is no 
record of the Tasmanian having made a needle for sewing 
his skin garments with his sinew thread, nor did he in 
drawing or carving show anything of the artistic skill of 
the Cave Men of Central France. 


Looking at the vestiges of a people so representative of 
the rudest type of man, anthropologists must join with 
philanthropists in regretting their unhappy fate, which fills 
a dismal page of our colonial history. We are now 
beginning to see what scientific value there would have 
been in such a minute careful portraiture of their thoughts 
and customs as Mr. Howitt is drawing up of the Australian 
tribes just across Bass* Straits. As this cannot be, at least 
it is necessary that the existing information should be 
diligently collected and critically sifted. To this task 
Mr. H. Ling Roth has devoted long and conscientious 
labour, examining in all likely quarters so as to gather 
together the notices scattered through voyages, histories, 
colonial documents, and other sources from which first- 
hand information, however fragmentary, could be obtained. 
Anthropologists, who have so often had to complain of 
the scantiness of materials as to the native Tasmanians, 
will find with surprise that much more is really known 
than was supposed, and will be glad to possess this book, 
the more so that its object being technical rather than 
popular, only a small number of copies has been printed. 

E. B. T. 


Plates I. II. and III. — Baskets or bags in the British Museum 
drawn by Edith May Roth. Nos. I. and II. are from the collection 
of the late Barnard Davis, and bear in his handwriting ** Tasmania 
G.A.R "[obinson], and are similar to other specimens in the 
British Museum, but which come from Australia. No. III. was 
received in 1851 from the late Dr. Milligan and is similar to 
some baskets in the museum of 
the Royal Society of Tasmania at 
Hobart. The mode of plaiting No. 

I. is shown diagrammatically in the 
accompanying woodcut Fig. I. No. 

II. is plaited on the same principle 
as No. I. with this difference, that 
the strips of reed overlap the hoops p^^ ^ 
at regular intervals so as to give 

the basket a diagonal pattern. No. III. is of much more simple 
construction. It consists, as shown diagrammatically in Fig. 2, of 
a series of upright pieces of reed held parallely in position by 
means of two pieces of twisted fibre, which 
two are again twisted into each other in 
such a manner as to enclose at every twist 
one of the upright reeds. This method of 
manufacture is identical with basket work or 
tissue made in several parts of the world ; 
thus it is the same as some fabric from fig. 2. 

Robenhausen and Wangen, Swiss Lake- 
dwellings, the same as bast-mats and -bags made by the Ainos 
of Japan, and the same as a variety of baskets and bags from 
various parts of Australia. In P6ron's drawing of the basket 
No. III. he shows the two pieces of twisted fibre doubled, so that 
it looks as though the woofs a and b in Fig. 2 were placed close 
together at intervals instead of quite apart as shown in Fig. 2. 
In the Museum at Oxford there is a Tasmanian basket or bag, 


presented by the late Dr. Barnard Davis to the Pitt Rivers Collec- 
tion, the work of which is shown 
in Fig. 3. The fibre, which is 
utterly unlike anything European, 
is gathered and twisted into two 
strands, which are again twisted 
together to form the cord. 

It is very remarkable that the 
stitches or plaits as shown in the 
two woodcuts, Figs, i and 3, should 
'°* ^' be identical with ladies' fancy work 

at the present day. In answer to my inquiry a correspondent 
(Bessie Tremaine) in the Qu^en of 28th September, 1889, replies 
that the stitch in Fig. i was known some years ago as pointbarri 
or loop and bar stitch, and was much used in point lace work 
when this work was fashionable. An exact reproduction of this 
stitch is given in Ther^se de Dillmont's Encyclopaedia of Needle- 
work, Fig. 737, on p. 456, and is there called the eighteenth lace 
stitch in Irish point lace. In the same work on p. 450 there is a 
woodcut. Fig. 720, which is called the plain net or first lace stitch, 
and curiously enough it exactly resembles the Tasmanian stitch, 
Fig. 3. An examination of these two stitches shows that the one 
described in Fig. 3 is practically the base of the stitch in Fig. i, 
the latter having the additional bar, and it is remarkable that a 
race, who appear to have been lower in the scale of civilization 
than many races whose industrial remains have lately become 
known to our times, should have known the stitches which form 
in fact the foundation of our modem point lace. 
The sizes of the baskets drawn in the plates are as follows : 

Plate I. diameter 12^ in., depth 13 in. 
„ II. „ 17 in., „ 12 in. 
„ III. „ 7 in., „ 5 J in. 

Plate IV. — Model canoe in the British Museum, drawn by 
E. M. Roth. This was obtained from Dr. Milligan in 1851, and 
is made of three bundles of bark of lepiospermum and tnelalmca 
roughly bound together by an extremely crude sort of net-work of 
partially twisted grass, the grass being merely wound round the 
bark and partly knotted. Length, 2 ft. 6 in. In the Museum of the 
Royal Society of Tasmania at Hobart there is a similar canoe 
with the two bows very much more turned up, giving it the look 
of a gondola. Freycinet describes the canoe as follows : ** Three 


rolls of Eucalyptus bark fonned the body. The principal roll or 
piece was 4 m. 55 cm. (14 ft. 11 in.) long by i m. (3 ft. 3 in.) broad, 
the two other pieces being only 3 m. 90 cm. (12 ft. 9 in.) long by 
32 cm. (iijin.) broad. These three bundles, which bore a fair 
resemblance to a ship's yards, were fastened together at their ends ; 
this made them taper and formed the whole of the canoe. The 
scarfing was made fairly compact by means of a sort of grass 
or reed. So completed the craft had the following dimensions : 
length inside, 2 m. 95 cm. (9 ft. 8 in.) ; outside breadth, 89 cm. 
{2 ft. 1 1 in.); height, 65 cm. (i ft. 3iin.); depth inside, 22 cm. 
(8Jin.); thickness at the ends, 27 cm. (lojin.). Five or six 
savages can get into these canoes, but generally the nxmiber is 
limited to three or four at a time. Their paddles are simple sticks 
from 2'5o metres (8 ft. i in.) to 4 and 5 metres (13 ft. and 16 ft. 
jin.) long, by 2 to 5 centimetres (J in. to 2 in.) thick. Occasionally 
when the water is shallow they make use of these sticks to propel 
themselves as we do with poles. Generally they sit down when 
working their canoes and make use of a bundle of grass as a seat ; 
at other times they keep standing. We saw them crossing the 
channel [d'EntrecasteauxJ only in fine weather; it is quite 
conceivable that such frail and imperfect vessels could not make 
progress or even maintain themselves in a rough sea. It seems 
also they have never tried to make longer journeys than to navigate 
from one promontory to another, or to cross a bay or port in the 
channel. They always place a fire at one end of their canoes, and 
in order to prevent the fire from spreading they place underneath 
it a sufl5ciently thick bed of earth or cinders" (P^ron's Voyage 
r6dig6 par Freycinet, Paris, 1815, pp. 44-45). For further account 
see text, pp. 162-163. 

Plate V. — " Pitcher of the aborigines of V. D. Land made of 
kelp," in the British Musexmoi, drawn by E. M. Roth, obtained 
from Dr. Milligan in 1857. It appears to be made of the Fucus 
pdmalus or Alga marina mentioned by various writers (see pp. 102, 
H3> 155, 166), the ends of which are skewered together and the 
skewers themselves loosely held in position by a grass cord. The 
diameter of this cup is 5 inches. 

Plate VI. — ^A copy of the plate by Petit in Peron's work, 
illustrating the primitive nature of the break-winds. (There does 
not appear to exist any drawing of a native hut.) 

Plate VII. — ^A copy of the plate by Petit in Peron's work 
illustrating the two tombs discovered by the latter naturalist as 
described in the text. The one tomb is shown perfect, and there- 



fore probably soon after erection, with the 
bows at the top which so excited Peron's 
admiration. The other tomb is in a dilapi- 
dated state, with the bows already fallen 
away; it is open in front showing the 
sticks held down by stones and bent over 
the mound of cut grass immediately cover- 
ing the ashes of the deceased. Two of the 
four sticks which form the framework and 
which support the bark covering are also 
plainly discernible. 

The plate also shows some of the marks 
made by the aborigines on the inner side of 
some of the bark of these tombs, 
t Plates VIII. IX. X. and XII.— Portraits 


fe of aborigines copied by E. M. Roth from 
original water colours supposed to have 
been done by Bock, and in the possession 
of the Anthropological Institute of Great 
Britain and Ireland. In so far as I am 
aware these portraits, with the exception 
of one plate which appears in Fenton's 
History, are now made public for the first 
time. Plates VIII. IX. and XII. are portraits 
of males and Plate X. is of a female. The 
portraits of the males give a good idea of 
the method of dressing the hair in clotted 
locks which at first sight remind one of the 
Papuans. The male in Plate VIII. appears 
to be wearing necklaces of Kangaroo sinews 
rolled in red ochre (p. 144), and in his hand he holds 
a torch. It is evident this portrait was taken at a time 
when it was supposed that the aborigines did not know 
how to produce fire, but only how to maintain it (p. 96). 
The woodcuts show the fire-stick (Fig. 4) and the fire- 
drill (Fig. 5) used by the aborigines, and now in the 
Museum at Oxford; the drill is i si inches long and 
the broken stick with the cup holes is about 8i x i 
inches long and wide. Though the bark is slightly 
different in the two pieces, the wood appears to be of 
very similar nature in both, the external part with the 
bark being fairly hard, and the inner portion with the 


pith being very soft and powdery. It would appear that it is 
very frequently sufficient that the two pieces be of the same kind 
of wood, provided this has a hard exterior and a soft interior. 

In Plates IX. and X^ the men are both apparently partially 
covered with pieces of skin sewn together with the fur turned 
inwards (p. 142); in Plate XII. the right shoulder of the man is 
seen to be marked by the scars or cicatrices with which these 
people were wont to adorn themselves (pp. 127, 137-138). In Plate 
XI/ the woman is depicted with the short hair worn by the sex, 
but the drawing does not show clearly the woolliness of the hair ; 
on the other hand the characteristic facial features are well drawn. 
She is evidently young, and it is hardly conceivable that she 
should have been able to suckle her children over her shoulders 
(pp. 12, 17). She is wearing over her right shoulder a strip of skin 
with the fur on (p. 144), and round her neck some Kangaroo sinews 
as shown in Plates VIII. and XII. She also wears round her neck a 
series of shell necklaces. The shells composing the necklaces (p. 
144) are strung together as shown in Fig. 6, being perforated with 
rough and large holes, one only in every shell as depicted in Fig. 7. 
The string passes through the artificial hole and the natural 
aperture of the shell so that the 
stringing together is of the simplest 
possible kind, and the shells do not 
lie in any fixed or symmetrical position 
with regard to one another, but lie 
quite irregularly. The British Museum 
and the Oxford Museum both possess 
specimens of the shell necklaces, and 
in all cases the shells are Elmchus p»c-7. Fio.6. 

and not Columhtlla (p. 145). Mr. Brough Smyth has in his collec- 
tion a necklace eighty-nine inches long and consisting of 565 of 
these shells. I may mention here that some time ago Mr. Franks 
secured for the British Museum a portrait of a Tasmanian male, 
"Woureddy," painted by B. Duterreau; besides the skin cloak 
this native is adorned with a shell necklace and a human jawbone 
suspended by the condyles (p. 144); Barnard Davis points out 
(Suppl. Thesaurus, p. 68) that the Andamanese carried the jawbones 
of relatives hung round their necks, but suspended by the symphyses, 
and therefore different to the Tasmanian fashion. 

Plate XI. — Bust of female aborigine (Truganina or Lalla Rookh) 
modelled by Mr. Murray, of Hobart, in the possession of the 
Anthropological Institute/ drawn by E. M. Roth. The hair on 


the bust appears cnrly rather than woolly, and in this respect the 
bust is inaccurate. The companion bust of the man " Woureddy " 
is also in the possession of the above Institute, and replicas of both 
exist in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. I have 
not been able to ascertain when these portraits were taken. 

Plate XIII. and XIV. — Full face and profile portraits of the 
head of a male aborigine brought to Paris by M. F. Eydoux in the 
Favorite in 1831, from a drawing by Delcdiaye in Paul Gervais* 
monograph in Vol. II. of Zoologie et Pal6ontologie G6n6rales, 
Paris, 1876. The nose is somewhat flattened, which flattening is 
due to the pressure of the face against the inside of the glass jar 
in which the head was preserved until examined above by M. 
Gervais. This portrait having been drawn under the supervision 
of a scientific man (M. Gervais) may be accepted as a typical 
portrait of the race. 

Plate XV. — Skull of the above : front view and norma verticalts^ 

Plate XVI. — Skull of the above : profile and sections of the jaws. 

Plate XVII. — Brain surface of the above. For description of 
face and skulls and brain surface see chapter on Osteology. 

Plate XVIII. — Sections of hair of Australians, Papuans, 
Tasmanians and Andamanese as a comparative study, prepared and 
drawn specially for this work by Dr. Sydney J. Hickson (see chap. 
XIV). The hair of the Tasmanians examined by Dr. Hickson 
was taken from the collections of MM. Eydoux and Dumoutier, 
and was kindly placed at my disposal by Dr. Verneau of the Musee 
d'Anthropologie, Jardin des Plantes, Paris. 

Plate XIX. — Skull of Tasmanian drawn by Dr. Garson, almost 
exactly half size. For description see chapter on Osteology. 

Plates XX. and XXI. — Tasmanian stone implement in the 
Museum of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History 
Society, Taunton Castle, who received it some thirty years ago 
from a Mr. Thos. Dawson on his return from the Antipodes. 
Mr. Wm. Bidgood, the Curator of the Museum, has described it 
to me as follows : " It measures 3^ inches in length by li broad. 
It has a cherty appearance ; olive brown in colour ; bluish shade 
in parts ; fresh fractures show a deep dull blue lead colour ; texture, 
very fine grain and smooth, but not so glossy as our black flint ; 
perfectly opaque. It weighs just under 6 oz." Plate X^ shows 
the front chipped surface, and Plate X}^ the back unchipped 
surface, and also the side view showing the cutting edge produced 
by the chipping. These three drawings were made by Mr. Alfred 
Robinson of Oxford. 


Since going to press I have had an opportunity of perasing 
Johnston's Geology of Tasmania, from which I extract the following 
(pp. 334 and 335) : " The rudely chipped flints of the Tasmanian 
aborigines are of the simplest character, rarely symmetrical, and 
are more like the earliest Palaeolithic flint implements of Europe. 
.... One of the scalpriform hatchets in the author's collection 
weighs 2 lbs. It is semicircular in form ; the base of the arch is 
nearly 2 inches thick ; length of base, 7 inches ; greatest depth at 
centre of arch, 4^ inches. The circumference of arch has been 
skilfully chipped to a fine strong cutting edge. The smaller stone 
knives vary in size from i finches by 1 inch to 4 inches by 2^ inches," 
and he compares them to those figured in the M^moire of M. de 
Ribeiro which appeared in the Proc. of the Congr^s Inter. d'Anthr. 
et d'Archeol. Prehist. (Comp. Rend. 6th Session, Brussels, 1872), 
published 1873. 


Chap. I. — Introduction. — Description of Tasmania. — Climate. 
— Discovery and early voyages. — First settlement. — Aborigines 
massacred. — ^The Black War. — G. A. Robinson's rescue. — Final 
disappearance of the aborigines.-— West's History. — Bibliography, 

Chap. II. — Form and Size. — Forehead. — Eyes. — Nose. — Month. 
— Lips. — ^Teeth. — ^Jaws. — ^Jaws in childhood. — General proportion 
of frame. — Limbs. — Two savages. — Natural parts. — Fourteen 
aborigines. — Height. — Height of one killed by Marion's party. — 
Appearance of women. — Contrast between married and single. — 
P^ron's description. — Method of suckling infants. — Weight of 
children. — Comparison with European children. Physiognomy, — 
Features flat and disagreeable. — General description. — A good- 
looking native. — Calder's account. — Features of women — Pleasing 
among unmarried. — Fine features of children. Hair. — Contra- 
dictory evidence as to character. — Comparisons. — Description by 
Pruner-Bey and by Barnard Davis. — Peculiarity in the individual 
hairs. — Growth abundant. — Tufted pellets on whiskers. Colour. 
— Great disagreement as to colour among eye-witnesses. Odour. 
Peculiar smell. Motions. — Methods of climbing trees. — Use of 
big toe in climbing. — Manner of carrying children. — Posture in 
sitting, reclining, and in sleep. — Standing. — Carrying spears with 
the toes. — Agility. — Feats performed by chief. — Dexterity in 
avoiding spears. — Records of agility by P6ron and West. — Faculty 
of concealment by mimicry. — Carriage and gait. — Accounts of 
climbing powers.— Joy. — ^Anger. — Bad habits. — Strzelecki's account. 


Pathology.— Withstanding cold.— Health and teeth.— Wounds. — 
Condition after European settlement. — Pulmonary complaints. — 
Causes thereof. — Catarrhal fever. Abnormalities. — Breast. — 
Teeth. — Navel. Physical Powers. — Wrestling and running. — 
Dynamometrical hand tests. — Vigour lacking. — Comparisons with 
other races. — Prolonged exertion. — ^Agility in leaping. Senses. — 
Acuteness in hearing, smelling and seeing. — Powers of tracking. — 
Ability to discover existence of water. Reproduction. — Statement 
as to paucity of children. — Contradiction of same. — Children met 
with by early travellers. 

Chap. III. — Psychology. — Low condition of intellect. — Opinions 
of settlers. — Comparison with Australians. — Mental incapacity ac- 
counted for. — Favourable opinions. — On an equality with Europeans 
in own sphere. —Interviews with La Billardi^re.— Timidity at first 
sight. — Interchange of presents.- — Grestures. — Expression of joy. — 
Confidence shown by a mother. — IndilQference as to presents. — 
Girlish intelligence. — Humorous trick played on a Frenchman. — 
Curiosity as to sex of Europeans. — A promise kept. — Powers of 
imitation. — A native on board ship. — Botanical knowledge. — 
Expressions of good will. — Conclusion of La Billardi^re's narrative. 
— Interviews with P^ron. — Surprise at fairness of European skin. — 
Curiosity at sight of boat. — Intelligence. — Two females. — Their 
appearance. — Surprise at gloves. — ^A "spirituel" girl. — Demonstra- 
tions of friendship. — Twenty females interviewed. — ElQfect of 
European singing. — Singing imitated. — ^A curious escort. — Ill-will 
of husbands. — ^A welcome meeting. — Desire to ascertain sex of 
Europeans. — Curiosity as to European's insensibility to pain. — 
Embracing unknown. — Review of character by P6ron. — ^Women's 
affection for olQfspring. — Domestic affection. — Love of country. — 
Pathetic scene. — Gratitude. — Kindness to those in distress.— 
Humour. — Revenge. — Improvidence — Irksomeness of civilization. 
Memory. — Intelligence in military tactics. — Contradictory evidence 
as to courage. — Interviews by Mortimer, Bass, Bligh, and Marion. 
— ^An old settler's views. — ^Absence of curiosity. — Curious behaviour 
witnessed by Bligh. — Explanation of indifference. — Variety of 


temper and talent. — ^A chief attempts to comb his hair. Morals. 
— Ill treatment suffered by women. — Jealousy of men. — Same 
contradicted. — ^Wives exchanged for bread. — ^A peaceful, inoffensive 
race. — ^Preference of women for white protectors. — Maternal devo- 
tion. — Original friendliness towards whites. — Instances of generosity 
and kindness. — P^ron's experiences not satisfactory. — ^Theft and 
treachery. — Violence and ingratitude. — Narrow escape of Peron and 
party. — ^Attitude towards settlers. — Europeans the first aggressors. 
— Resentment of wrongs. — ^Testimony of Gov. Arthur. — 111 treatment 
at hands of convicts and sealers. — ^Evidence in Government notice 
and in Report of Aboriginal Committee. — Ingratitude and treachery. 
— ^A barbarous murder. — ^West's testimony. — Occasional generosity 
towards enemies. — Ross's testimony. — Friendly when well treated. 
— Gratitude. — Cruel treatment of animals. Religion. — ^Belief in 
Supreme Being doubtful. — Good and bad spirit. — Inferior spirits. — 
Women's religious chant. — The moon a deity. — Polytheism. — Bones 
as charms. — Immortality of soul. — Name applied to spirits of 
departed friends. — England the aboriginal Hades. — Fatalism. — 
Good and bad spirits. — Future state. — Fear of darkness. — Devil 
believed to be white. — Creation. — Future state. — Absence of idols. 
— Prophetic communications. — Vagueness of ideas. — ^Jump up white 
men. — No word for Creator. — Apparent incantation. — ^A sermon. 
Government. — No elected or hereditary chief. — Chiefship falls to 
bullies. — Prowess in war sole cause of supremacy. — Chiefs destitute 
of authority. — Statement contradicted. — Chiefs merely heads of 
families. — Friendly relations with Europeans hampered by want 
of authority of chiefs. — Respect for boundaries of hunting grounds. 
— ^Trespass a casus belli. — No permanent villages. — No individual 
property in land. — Quarrels settled by duels. — ^A primitive pillory. 
Customs. — None remarkable. — Kissing and embracing unknown 
between the sexes. — Handshaking. — Dislike to kissing. — Manner of 
receiving friends and strangers. — ^Abandonment of sick and infirm. 
Taboo. — Names of deceased or absent not mentioned. — Avoidance 
of burial grounds. — ^Abstinence from certain foods. — No indications 
of totemism. Medicine. — Scarcity of information. — Laceration of 
body. — Decay a result of imprudence. — Severe case of laceration. 


— Probable use of cautery. — Scarifications. — Rheumatism. — Inflam- 
mations. — Leprosy. — Snake-bites. — Bones worn as charms. — ^Tri- 
angle of bones against headache. — Stones for causing and counter- 
acting evil. — Mesembryanihemum equilaterale, — ^Women in labour. — 
Care of sick left to women. — No regular doctors. — Eruptive disease 
due to over-eating. — Illnesses in later days ascribed to devil. — ^A 
native impostor. — Superstitious belief. 

Chap. IV. — ^War. — Weapons of rudest description. — ^Absence of 
throwing-stick and boomerang. — Use of sharp stones. — Shields of 
wood. — Spears. — Their length and material. — Point hardened in 
fire. — Sharpened with flints. — Jagged spears in use by northern 
tribes. — Poisoned spears. — ^Way of storing spears. — The waddy. — 
— Its length and purpose. — ^Thrown with rotatory motion. — Its 
material. — ^The spear a formidable weapon. — Skill in throwing it. — 
Victims pierced while running. — Feats of a chief. — Frequency of 
intertribal wars. — Cause of wars after arrival of settlers. — ^Women a 
source of strife. — Extremity of these feuds. — Tactics and war 
march. — Personal quarrels settled with waddy. — Native skulls 
inferred to be thicker than Europeans. — First hostile encounter 
between natives and Europeans. — War challenge. — Treacherous 
attacks on P6ron's party. — Objection to be sketched. — Stones. — 
War party seen by Capt. Hamelin. — Flight after hostile demonstra- 
tion. — Original inoffensiveness. — Probable real cause of original 
enmity towards Europeans. — ^An unhappy mistake. — ^Tactics during 
War of Extermination. — Cunning. — Assaults on European dwellings. 
— Numbers of attacking parties. — Method of attacks. — Robbery an 
object of attack. — Women not permitted to fight. — A notable 
exception. — Spears held between toes. — Skill of war parties in 
concealing approach. — Europeans warned by native women. — 

Laplace's account of method of attack, — " Diabolical" patience. 

Spears thrown in at windows. — ^Tenacity of purpose and of life. 

Apparent friendliness of hostile approach. — Massacre of Hooper 
family. — Evidence of Gov. Arthur.— Minutes of Executive Council. 
— Solitary instance of open hostility. — Ashes of enemy's body used 
as amulets. — Difl5culty of pursuit of natives. — Skill displayed in 


eluding adversaries. — Ideas of perfection of war. — ^A clever attack. 
— ^Assault on Mr. Jones's premises. — Military obedience and tactics. 
— ^Dismay at death of chief. — ^A greasy captive. — ^Warlike carriage. 
— Mutilations of European dead. — ^Women's lives generally spared. 
— ^Merciful disposition of native women. — ^Eflfect of this on the men. 

Chap. V. — Fire. — Supposed ignorance of art of producing fire. — 
Incorrectness of this idea. — Flint and tinder found by several 
travellers. — Fire procured by drilling. — Fire-sticks. — Native fires 
dififerent to those of settlers. — Legen d of the origin of fire recorded 
by Milligan. — Castor and Pollux. | Food J^ Original dislike to 
European food and spirits. — Repugnance overcome. — Killing sheep. 
— Objections to European cookery. — Enormous appetites. — Cause 
of voracity. — ^Every variety of animal eaten. — Fat objected to. — 
Fat of soup smeared on head.— Strictures with regard to con- 
sumption of male or female wallaby. — ^White grubs. — Caterpillars. — 
Shell-fish. — Scale fish never eaten. — La Billardidre's account of a 
repast. — Ross's account of same. — Alkali ashes used as salt. — 
Primitive methods of cookery. — Hearths of clay. — ^Wide distribution 
and antiquity of shell mounds. — Varieties of edible shell-fish 
enumerated. — Native cider. — Ignorance of art of boiling water. — 
Varieties of edible seaweed and vegetable food : sea-wrack, truffle, 
punk, fern-tree, fern-roots, native potato, etc,^ eic,^ the canagong. 
Cannibalism unknown. Hunting and Fishing. — Hunting 
Kangaroos. — Use of dogs in hunting. — Description of a hunt by 
Lloyd. — Captureof opossums by women. — ^Women's skill in climbing. 
— ^Davies's account of opossum hunting. — Fish-hooks unknown. — 
Diving of women for shell-fish. — Use of baskets in diving. — Spearing 
scale fish for sport. — Lloyd's description. — Birds supposed to be 
caught with hands. — ^Jealousy of hunting grounds. — ^Women not 
permitted to hunt. — Diving, beneath the dignity of the men. — 
No storage of food for future use. 

Chap. VI. — Nomadic Life. — A wandering race. — No fixed 
habitations. — Statements by Rossel and P6ron. — ^The object of the 
migrations. — N.E. coast frequented for shell-fish. — ^Direction of 
journeys. — Inactivity in winter. — Statement by West. — Periodicity 


of wanderings. — ^Average numbers to each party. — Respect accorded 
to tribal boundaries. — ^Women the beasts of burden. — Separate fires 
for each family. — ^Encampments fixed near water. — Reason for this. 
Attachment to nomadic life a hindrance to civilization. Habita- 
tions. — ^Trees hollowed by fire used as such. — Native huts. — 
Temporary nature of same. — Ingenious construction of one seen by 
La Billardi^re. — Further account of huts. — Number of huts. — Break- 
winds. — ^Thatched huts on western coasts. — Wicker work huts. — 
Number of huts seen together. — Permanency of same. — Kangaroo 
skin pillows. — Curious structures described by Walker and La 
Billardi^re. Agriculture entirely unknown. Domestic Animals. 
— None known. — ^Dogs obtained from Europeans. — ^Affection for 
dogs. — Women suckle puppies. — Vermin. — A disgusting habit. 
Social and Marital Relations. — Wives stolen from other 
tribes. — ^Divorce allowed. — A succession of wives. — Polygamy. — 
Evidence of West and Lloyd. — Exceptions to polygamy. — Case 
recorded by La Billardi^re. — ^Abject condition of women. — ^Ill-treat- 
ment by men. — Subordination to men. — ^Account of scene witnessed 
by La Billardi^re. — Indolence and selfishness of men. — ^Evidence 
of Davies, Lloyd, and Calder. — Huts and canoes built by women. — 
Refusal of men to assist in fishing. — ^A selfish father and an unselfish 
mother. — Domestic affection. — Instance related by West. — Rela- 
tions between sealers and native women. — Unwillingness of women 
to re-join their tribes. Education limited. — Obedience of children. 
— ^Affection of mothers. — Paternal correction. — Careless mothers. 
Initiatory Ceremonies. — Scarification of males arrived at puberty. 
Deformations. — Extraction of front tooth, mutilation of little 
finger nor circumcision practised. Burials. — ^Discovery of human 
bones in ashes of native fire. — Remarkable tombs seen by P6ron. — 
Structure and situation. — Characters marked on inside of bark. — 
Scarcity of monuments due to their perishable nature. — Rock tomb 
described by Jorgenson. — Burial-place of a warrior. — Spear left in 
grave. — Reason for this. — Methods of disposal of dead. — Burning. 
— Use of ashes as amulets. — Hollow trees converted into tombs. — 
Native graves. — ^Tree burial. — Body fixed in upright position. — 
Funeral customs. — Preservation of skulls. — Ceremony observed at a 


death. — Lighting a funeral pyre. — Power of dead to cure the sick. 
— ^Ashes of dead smeared over survivors* faces. — ^A man ordering his 
own funeral pyre. — Curious idea. — Cremation recorded by West. — 
Burning of two bodies witnessed by Robinson. — ^Binding the limbs 
of corpse. — Haste in disposal of dead. — ^Erect posture in burial. 

Chap. VII. — Method of wearing hair. — Use of red ochre and 
grease. — Men's hair drawn out in ringlets or rat-tails. — Heads of 
women generally shorn. — Nicking olQf the hair with shells, glass, etc. 
— ^Time occupied in shaving head. — Hair worn low on the forehead. 
— ^Whiskers. — Destruction of vermin. — Beards smeared with red 
ointment and allowed to grow long. Painting and Tattooing. 
— Scarification a general custom. — ^Evidence of several writers. — 
Use of charcoal. — Scars made in symmetrical lines. — Observed 
oftener on men than on women. — Cicatrices seen by La Billardi^re. 
— None. — Destruction of the cellular membrane. — Ornamental 
scars. — Scarification of males at age of puberty. — Use of soot. — 
Painting of sixteen natives seen by Backhouse. — An amusing story. 
— Bodies smeared with red ochre and grease. — Painting a protection 
against inclement weather. — Charcoal used as paint. — Experiences 
of P6ron. — Ideas of beauty. — ^The painter painted* — Use of mineral 
substances as paint. Clothing. — Nudity of natives. — Kangaroo 
skins worn by women and used for carrying children. — Skins as 
cloaks worn only in winter or in sickness. — Nakedness of most of 
aborigines seen by La Billardi^re — Some exceptions. — Evidence of 
P6ron. — Nudity of the women. — Wpmen's indifference to clothing. 
— Use of loin-cloth mentioned only by Thirkell. — No head cover- 
ings. — Mocassins. — Dislike to civilized dress, and discarding it at 
earliest opportunity. Personal Ornaments. — Strips of skin worn 
as ornaments. — Flowers and feathers stuck in hair. — Necklaces of 
kangaroo teeth, berries, and shells. — Bones worn. — Shell necklaces, 
and how they are made. 

Chap. VIII. — ^Astronomy. — ^Time observed by apparent motion 
of the sun. Arithmetic. — ^Table of numerals. — Ability to count 
up to three and up to five. — The word for ten. — ^Word for five same 


as word for man. Music. — Effect of the Marseillaise. — Softer airs 
less appreciated. — ^Effect of European singing on the women. — 
Imitation of a European song. — Rapid singing. — Indifference to a 
musical performance. — A violin solo and its results. — Native 
singing. — Its correctness. — ^A musical corrobaree. — Kangaroo rugs 
used as drums or gongs. — Softness and melody of songs. — Singing 
accompanied by dancing. — Favourite songs. — Hymn to Good Spirit 
sung by women. Drawing. — Rude drawings frequently met with. 
— Animals traced in charcoal. — A drawing at Belvoir Vale. — 
Tracings on bark of huts. A native chef-d'ceuvre. — Descrip- 
tion by Bunce of a native drawing. — ^A copy from life. — Appreciation 
of beauty. — Designs found in tomb by P6ron. Games and 
Amusements. — Corrobories or native dances the favourite pastime. 
— Description by Backhouse. — Horse, Emu, thunder and lightning 
dances. — Dances end with shouting. — Account by Davies. — ^The 
kangaroo dance. — A violent kind of dance. — Other dances.— 
Description by Lloyd. — ^A full moon corrobory. — Aboriginal ftdl 
dress. — A warrior abused and defended. — Musical accompaniments. 
Prominent part taken by the women. — Throwing waddies and spears 
as an amusement. 

Chap. IX, — String. — Grass ropes used in climbing. — String 
plaited from bark of a shrub. — Grass cords used in making rafts. — 
Rope of kangaroo sinews. — Skins sown with bark threads. Basket* 
WORK. — Baskets used in fishing. — ^Their manufacture by women. — 
Drinking vessel or pitcher made of sea-wrack. — Baskets also made 
of leaves. — ^A curious grass basket. Stone Implements. — ^Detailed 
account by Brough Smyth. — Nature of rocks whence obtained. — 
Manner of obtaining and treating them. — ^The cutting edge flaked. 
— Skill shown in this. — Edge not serrated. — Manner of flaking. — 
Specimens left unchipped. — ^Two scalpriform implements. — Skilful 
treatment of the same. — Weight of implements. — Absence of 
handles. — Edges not ground. — Method of using stone knives 
described by James Scott. — Stone implements found at Mount 
Morriston. — Method of holding the flints. — Purposes for which they 
were used. — Number of stones discovered at one locality. — Evidence 


of James Rollings. — Stone knives used in skinning kangaroos. — 
Stones for hair-cutting. — Further account by Brough Smyth. — 
Description by Morton Allport. — Locality frequented for flint stones. 
— Stones always grasped in the hand without handles. — Statements 
made at a meeting of the Royal Society of Tasmania. — ^Testimony 
of Thomas Scott. — Implements never used as tomahawks. — 
Sharpening stones. — ^Their principal uses. — ^A stone used for break- 
ing bones in order to obtain marrow. — Further evidence in Papers 
of the Royal Society of Tasmania. — Implements made from two 
kinds of rocks. — Localities where stones were obtained. Metal- 
lurgy. — ^Total ignorance of the art 

Chap. X. — Trade. — No system of trade or barter previous to 
arrival of Europeans. — Bartering a woman for seals. — Women 
exchanged for bread. — Backhouse's account of some bartering. — A 
girl traded for a dog. Communications. — No roads but beaten 
paths. — Difficult paths. — Indicating the direction in forests by 
means of broken branches. — Powers of tracking. — Graphic descrip- 
tion of this by Lloyd. — Natives employed as mounted police. 
Navigation. — No boats or canoes met with by early explorers. — 
Rafts. — One found in Adventure Bay.— Canoes. — Account by Mrs. 
Meredith. — Rafts made of gum-tree bark bound with grass. — How 
tised. — Rafts found on South and West Coasts only. — ^Their con- 
struction. — Sticks employed as oars.— The natives good weather 
judges. — Canoes described by Dove and Jeflreys. — Rapid motion of 
canoes. — Catamaran found by Lieut. Gunn. — Number of persons 
carried by canoes. — Propulsion by swimmers on either side. 
Swimming. — Men inferior in this art to women. — Remarkable 
diving powers of women. — ^Account by La Billardi^re. — Submersion 
twice as long as any European diver. — ^The women good swimmers. 
Gaidar the only author who speaks of the men swimming. Topo- 
graphy. — Accuracy of geographical knowledge. — Hull's list of 
tribes at period of European arrival. Natural Forms. — Primitive 
nature of articles used. — Little ingenuity displayed in adapting 
natural productions to wants. — Beauty of Boronia remarked. 
Natural History. — Habits of wombat, hyaena, snakes, and 
porcupine, as described by the natives. 


Chap. XI. — Infanticide. — Not practised before advent of 
Europeans. — Prevalence in later years. — Dogs suckled in place of 
infants. — Abandonment of children during dearth of food. — Rapid 
flights a cause of infanticide. — Hatred towards half-caste children. 
Their destruction oftener the act of the tribe than of the mother. — 
Case recorded by West. — ^Duration of period for suckling infants. 
Population. — Accurate reports obtained by Robinson. — Rated at 
700 after 1830. — Rapid decrease. — Estimate of Backhouse and 
Melville. — Number of natives captured at close of the Black War. — 
Estimated population at European advent. — Unlikelihood of native 
population to have exceeded 2000. — Statistical table of population 
from 18 17 to 1877. — Death of last representative of the race in 
1876. Contact with Civilized Races. — Nature of struggle 
between aborigines and settlers. — Ruthless massacre of natives by 
a party of soldiers. — Brutal murder of an infant. — Hunting the 
aborigines a favourite amusement. — Loss of hunting grounds 
resented by natives. — Cruelties towards them denounced by the 
Governor. — Ill-treatment of native women by stockmen ; this the 
alleged original cause of hostility. — ^Atrocious treatment of women 
described by Parker. — A tub of natives' ears. — Strzelecki's views 
contradicted by Lieut. Friend. — Description of first half-caste bom 
in Tasmania. — Beauty of half-caste children. — Rapid decline in 
numbers previous to removal to Flinders Island. — Infidelity of 
women a cause of declension. — Epidemic disorders. — Mortality 
among natives at Flinders Island. — ^Testimony of James Allen. — 
Account by West of final decay of race and of its various causes. — 
Longing of natives for their native shores. — Home-sickness the 
cause of many deaths. — Pathetic picture of their last days. 

Chap. XII.— Language. — ^The twelve known vocabularies. — 
Their enumeration.— Sterling's lost vocabulary.— Milligan's stand- 
ard vocabulary. — How obtained. — Difl5culty in attaining accuracy 
for putting words to paper. — Effects of hostility, superstition, 
gesticulation and carelessness of expression. — Affixes. — Short- 
comings in syntax. — Dialects. — Abstract ideas. — Elision, rejection 
and disuse of words.— Borrowed words.— Softness of language. — 


Vowels.— Semi-vowels. —Diphthongs. — Consonants. —Adjectives.— 
The suflSx -/w. — Plural. — Personal pronouns. —Verbs.— Infinitive 
mood. — Person and number. — Construction.— Agglutinating char- 
acter of the language.— Expression of the Singular, Negative, 
Magnitude, Diminutive. — Word building. — Name given to Euro- 
peans. — Explanation of word " break-wind." — Panubri MahhyU. — 
Prefixes.— Interpolations.-Comipted forms. 

Chap. XIII. — Osteology. — Locality of existing skulls and 
skeletons. — Memoirs on Tasmanian Osteology. — Stature. — Skull, 
and its peculiarities. — Vertebral column. — ^Thorax. — Pelvis. — Limb 
bones. — Scapula. — Clavicle. — Humerus. — Radius. — Ulna. — Hand. 
— Femur. — ^Tibia. — Foot. — Proportions of entire extremities. — In- 
trinsic proportions of limbs. — Intermembral index. — Antibracheal 
index. — ^Tibio-femoral index. — Humero-femoral index. — Conclu- 
sion. — ^Topinard's measurements of Tasmanian skulls in Paris. 

Chap. XIV. — Origin. — ^Views of various writers. — ^Topinard. — 
Bonwick. — Huxley. — Flower. — Fried. Miiller. — Quatrefages and 
Hamy. — Carson. — Comparative study of the hair. — Comparative 
study of the language. — Similarity of custom with other races. — 

Appendixes A — F. 





Tasmania, formerly known as Van Diemen's Land, is an island 
with an area of 26,375 square miles, situated at the eastern extremity 
of the south coast of Australia, from which it is separated by Bass's 
Straits. Its general character is mountainous, with numerous 
beautiful valleys, rendered fertile by numberless streams descending 
from the hills, and watering, in their course to the sea, large tracts 
of country. The south-western district, washed by the Southern 
Ocean, is high and cold; but the climate of the northern and 
inland districts is one of the finest in the temperate zone, and 
produces in abundance and variety all the fruits which are found 
under the same latitude in Europe. 

The island was discovered on the 24th November, 1642, by 
Abel Jansen Tasman, who named it after the Governor of the 
Dutch East Indies, Anthony Van Diemen. It does not appear 
to have been visited by any European after Tasman until 
March, 1772, when Marion du Fresne, in command of a French 
expedition, spent some days in exploring the coast. A twelve- 
month later it was visited by Captain Fumeaux, in the Reso- 
lution, during his temporary separation from Captain Cook. The 
latter celebrated navigator visited the island in January, 1777. ^® 
was followed by Captain Bligh in 1788, Captain Cox in 1790, 
the French officer d'Entrecasteaux in 1792, and Captain Hayes in 
1794. In the year 1798 Bass, first alone and then in company 
with Lieutenant Flinders, discovered and named Bass's Straits, and 
proved Tasmania to be an island. Captain Baudin visited the 
island in 1802, and the first European settlement was made the 
following year under the command of Lieutenant Bowen at 



Risdon. Before this time whalers had been in the habit of calling 
at the island, and we have evidence of such a visit as far back as 
the year 1791. 

The first aborigine killed was shot by one of Marion's party 
during a misunderstanding, and we have no record of any further 
fatal meeting between the aborigines and Europeans until 1804, 
about twelve months after the first European settlement was 
formed. On this occasion a panic seemed to have seized the 
English, who shot down unmercifully a party of aboriginal men, 
women, and children, which was approaching them with every 
sign of friendship. In 1828 the hostilities caused by this episode 
had reached such a pitch that the colonists were nearly driven 
out of the island; but the natives, never very numerous, were 
already rapidly decreasing in numbers, when, in 1835, the Black 
War came to an end by the unconditional surrender of a few 
hundred of the aborigines. This wretched remnant, collected 
together by an energetic man named Robinson, was transferred to 
Flinders Island. But change of circumstances, and more especially 
unsuitable food, told woefully on their numbers, and when, twelve 
years later, these were reduced to something over forty, they were 
transferred to Oyster Cove, near Hobart. Here in March, i86q, 
William Lanney, the last Tasmanian male aborigine, died, and with 
the death in June, 1876, of the woman Truganina, or Lalla Rookh, 
the race was wiped off the face of the earth. 

The public have been supplied with several accounts of the 
habits, etc., of the Tasmanian aborigines. By far and away the 
best of these accounts, and in itself a very good one, is that 
which appeared from the pen of Mr. West, forming section ix. of 
his History of Tasmania. Mr. West's account is unfortunately 
incomplete, and his authorities are never quoted ; were it not so, 
the necessity for the present work would hardly exist. 


Agnew, J. W., M,D,, MX, C— The Last of the Tasmanians. Proc. 

Australasian Assoc. Adv. Science, pp. 478-481. 2 plates. 

Sydney, 1888. 
Anderson. — See Cook. 
Arthur. — See Colonies and Slaves. 
Backhouse, James.— Narrative of a Visit to the Australian Colonies. 

8vo. London, 1843. 
Backhouse spent nearly six years in Tasmania, from 1832 to 1838. 


Barkow. — Comparativ Morphologic . . . Greifswald. Breslau, 
fol. 1862-1875. 
Contains description of Tasmanian skull. 

Barnard, James. — ^The last living aboriginal of Tasmania [Fanny 
Cochrane]. The Mercury^ Hobart, lo Sept. 1889. 

Bass.— &^ Collins. 

Bedford. — See Colonies and Slaves. 

BischofF, James. — Sketch of the History of Van Diemen's Land, 
and an Account of the Van Diemen's Land Company. 8vo. 
London, 1832. 
Occasional references to the natives by Henry Hellyars. 

Bligh, William, Lieutenant. — ^A Voyage to the South Sea. . . . 4to. 

London, 1792. 
Bock.—iSV^ Fenton. 
Bonwick, Jas., F.R.G.S. — The Last of the Tasmanians. pp. viii.+ 

400. 8vo. London, 1870. 
Daily Life and Origin of the Tasmanians. pp. X.+304. 

8vo. London, 1870. 
Braim, Thos. H., Archdeacon, — History of New South Wales from 

its Settlement to the Year 1844. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1846. 
Breton, William Henry, Lieutenant, — Excursions in New South 

Wales, Western Australia, and Van Diemen*s Land, during 

1830-33. 8vo. London, 1833. 
Brodribb. — See Colonies and Slaves. 
Bunce, David. — ^Twenty-three Years' Wandering in the Australias 

and Tasmania. i2mo. Geelong, 1857. 
Published also in Melbourne with the tide '* Australasiatic Wanderings. ..." 

Burnett. — .S"^^ Colonies and Slaves. 

Colder, James Erskine. — Some Account of the Wars, Extirpation, 
Habits, etc., Tribes of Tasmania .... pp. 114 and iii. i2mo. 
Hobart, 1875. 
Compiled from the Government archives (17 large volumes in MS. at Hobart), 
which include G. A. Robinson's despatches. 

' Some Account of the Wars of Extirpation, and Habits of 

the Native Tribes of Tasmania. Journ. Anthrop. Inst. pp. 7-28. 
Vol. HL 
A different account from the foregoing. 

Charency, H. De. — Recherches sur les Dialectes Tasmaniens. 
Actes de la Societe Philologique, T. xi. i" Fascicule, 1880. 
Alenqon [} Paris.] 


Collins, David. — An Account of the English Colony of New South 
Wales. ... 2 vols. 4to. London, 1789-1802. 
In Vol. II. is an abridged account taken from Bass's own journal of his account 
of the discovery of the Straits. The information about the aborigines is 
very meagre. Flinders, in the introduction to his "Voyage, etc.," sajrs 
he leaves the account of the description of the Tasmanians to be given by 
his friend Bass. It would therefore seem that Collins must have consider- 
ably abridged Bass's account. On the other hand, as Collins enters so fully 
into the details of the life of the Australian aborigines, it is not likely 
he would have left out any important information about the Tasmanian 
aborigines had Bass mentioned such in his journal. 

Colonies and Slaves, Papers on. — One volume. . . . Session 
14 June to 20 October, 1831, Vol. XIX. [London.] 
Contains No. 259, Van Diemen's Land : Return for ** Copies of all correspond- 
ence between Lieutenant-Governor Arthur and His Majesty's Secretary of 
State for the Colonies, on the Subject of the Military Operations lately 
carried on against the Aboriginal Inhabitants of Van Diemen*s Land.*' It 
includes a Report of a Committee which sat on the Aboriginal Question at 
Hobart, the minutes of the Executive Council relating to the Aborigines, 
and the evidence amongst others of Messrs. Bedford, Brodribb, Burnett, 
Espre, Hobbs, Kelly, Knopwood, and O'Connor. 

Cook, James, Captain, — The Voyages of Captain James Cook 
Round the World. 4 vols. 4to. London [no date]. 

Cox, J. H. — See Mortimer. 

Crozet. — Nouveau Voyage k la Mer du Sud. . . . 8vo. pp. 290. 
Paris, 1753. 
Crozet took command of the Expedition on the death of Marion du Fresne. 

Cunningham. — See Latham. 

Curr, E. M. — The Australian Race. ... 4 vols. 8vo. and fol. 
Melbourne, 1886. 

Davies, R. H. — -5*^^ Tasm. Joum. Science. 

Davis, Jas. Barnard, M,D,, F.J^.S. — On the Osteology and Peculi- 
arities of the Tasmanians, a Race of Man recently become 
extinct. 4to. pp. 19. Haarlem, 1874. 
With plates of skeletons and skulls of Australians and Tasmanians. 

Dixon, John. — The Condition and Capabilities of Van Diemen's 
Land as a Place of Emigration, izmo. London, 1839. 

Dove. — See Tasm. Joum. Science. 

Dumont D'Urville. — Voy. au Pole Sud et dans TOceanie sur les 

corvettes L'Astrolabe et la Z6166 pendant les Ann6es 1837, 

1838, 1839, 1840. Anthropologie par le Dr. Dumoutier. 

Paris, 1 842-1 847. 

Plates 22-24 busts of Tasmanian heads ; plate 36 skulls of Tasmanian male^ 

female, and child. 



t^M?*t W r ih 


Dumoutier. — See Dumont D'Urville. 
Espre. — See Colonies and Slaves. 

Fenton, James. — A History of Tasmania, from its Discovery in 
1642 to the Present Time. . . . 8vo. pp. xvi. and 462. 
Hobart, Launceston, and London, 1S84. 
With four coloured facsimiles of Portraits of Tasmanians, painted by Mr. Bock 
for Lady Franklin. 

Flower, W. H., Prv/essor, F.Ji.S. — ^The Aborigines of Tasmania. 
An Extinct Race. A Lecture. 8vo. pp. 7. Manchester and 
London [1878]. 
Flinders, Matthew. — Voyage to Terra Australis, . . . prosecuted 
in the years 180 1-3, in the Investigator, the Porpoise, and 
the Cumberland. 2 vols. 4to. and folio atlas. London, 1814. 
Fumeaux. — See Cook. 
Gell. — See Tasm. Joum. Science. 

Gervais, Paul. — Zoologie et Paleontologie Generales. 4to. Paris, 


In Vol. II. (Second Series) pp. 1-8, the first chapter is entitled : ** Un des 

Demiers Natturels de la Terre de Diemen/' being the description of a head 

of a Tasmanian (preserved in spirits) brought home by Laplace. Two 

plates of this head and two plates of skull and brain surface. 

Giglioli, E. H., Prv/essor, — I Tasmaniani cenni storici ed etnologici 
di un popolo estinto. pp. iv. + i6o. 8vo. Milan, 1874. 

Gunn. — See Tasm. Joum. Science. 

Hamy, Ernest T. — See Quatrefages. 

Hellyars, Henry. — See Bischoff. 

Henderson, John. — Observations on the Colonies of New South 
Wales and Van Diemen's Land. 8vo. pp. xxviii. and 180. 
Calcutta, 1832. 

Hobart Town Almanack for 1836. 
Contains Ross's " Fourteen Years Ago," with his account of the aborigines. 

Hobbs. — See Colonies and Slaves. 

Holman, James. — ^Voyage round the World. 4 vols. 8yo. London, 

Holman was blind, but his information is considered reliable. His references 
to the Tasmanians are to be found in vol. iv. 

Hull, Hugh Munro. — ^Experience of Forty Years in Tasmania. 
i2mo. pp. 96 and 6. London, 1859. 
With Map and ten illustrations, and a catalogue of the Tasmanian exhibits 
in the Crystal Palace. 

— ^— Statistical Summary of Tasmania from the Year 18 16-1865 
inclusive, fol. pp. 8. Tasmania, 1866. 


Hull, Hugh Munro. — ^The Aborigines of Tasmania [MS. in Royal 

Colonial Institute]. 
Huxley, T. H., F.Ji.S. — In Journal of Ethnological Society, 1870, 

Vol. II. pp. 130 and 404. 
Jeffreys, Ch., Li'euf, H,M,S, Kangaroo, — Van Diemen's Land. 

Geographical and Descriptive Delineations of the Island of 

Van Diemen's Land. 8vo. pp. 168. London, 1820. 
Johnston, Rob. M., FX.S, — Systematic Account of the Geologj- of 

Tasmania. 4to. pp. xxiv.+4o8. Hobart, 1888. 
Kelly. — See Colonies and Slaves. 
Knopwood. — See Colonies and Slaves. 
La Billardi^re, Houton de. — ^An Account of a Voyage in Search of 

the P^rouse in the Years 1791, 1792, 1793. 2 vols. 8vo. 

Plates 4to. London, 1800. 
This expedition paid two lengthened visits to Tasmania under the command of 
Bruni d'Entrecasteaux. 

Laplace, C. P. T. — ^Voyage autour du Monde. 6 vols. 8vo. 1833-9. 

Atlas fol. 1855. Paris. 
Latham, R. G., M.A., M.D., F.R,S, — Elements of Comparative 
Philology. 8vo. pp. xxxii. and 774. London, 1862. 
Pp. 362-371 deal with the Tasmanian language. The vocabulary, which he 
attributes to Allan Cunningham, is, however. La Billardi^e's. 

Leigh. — " The Aborigines of Van Diemen's Land." 

In Vol. III. Missionary Notices . . of the Methodist Conference, 1822. 
Lhotsky, John, Dr, — Some Remarks on a Short Vocabulary of the 
Natives of Van Diemen's Land ; and also of the Menero 
Downs in Australia. Joum. Roy. Geogr. Soc. Vol. ix. pp. 
Contains Peron*s Vocabulary, dated 1803, and apparently in possession of 
the Roy. Geogr. Soc. ; another vocabulary is dated 1835, and drawn up 
by M*Geaiy, upwards of twenty years resident in the island. 

Lloyd, George Thomas. — Thirty-three Years in Tasmania and 
Victoria, being the actual experience of the author, interspersed 
with historic jottings. 8vo. London, 1862. 

Marion du Fresne. — See Crozet. 

M 'Geary. — -5*^^ Lhotsky, 

Melville, Henry. — Van Diemen's Land, comprising a Variety of Sta- 
tistical and other Information. i2mo. Hobart Town, 1833. 

See Van Diemen's Land Annual. 

Meredith, Charles, Mrs, — My Home in Tasmania during a Resi- 
dence of Nine Years. 2 vols. i2mo. London, 1852. 

Meredith. — See Roy. Soc. Tasm. 


Milligan, Jos. — Vocabulary of the Dialects of some of the Aboriginal 
Tribes of Tasmania, in Papers, etc., of Roy. Soc. Tasm. 
Reprinted by the Goverament, 1866. It includes a short yocabulary, by Thomas 
Scott, taken in 1826, of the Oyster Bay Tribe Dialect. 

See Nixon. 

See Roy. Soc. Tasm. 

Minutes Executive Council. — See Colonies and Slaves. 

Mortimer, George, Lieut. — Observations and Remarks made during 
a Voyage to the Islands of Teneriffe, Amsterdam, Maria's 
Islands near Van Diemen's Land ; Otaheite, Sandwich Islands; 
Owhyhee ... in the Brig Mercury, commanded by John Henry 
Cox, Esq. Illustrated with a Sketch of the Island of Amsterdam, 
a Plan of Oyster Harbour at the Maria Islands, with some views 
of the land . . . 4to. pp. xvi. and 7 1 . London, 1791. 

Miiller, Fried., /%.Z?.— Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft. 3 vols, 
and suppls. Svo. Vienna, 1876, ^/r. 

Nixon, Francis Russell, Right Rev. Bishop 0/ Tasmania. — ^The Cruise 
of the Beacon. A Narrative of a Visit to the Islands in Bass's 
Straits. With Illustrations. Svo. pp. 114. London, 1857. 
On pp. 25-31 he gives Dr. MiUigan's account of the aborigines. 

O'Connor. — See Colonies and Slaves. 

Parker, H. W. — ^Van Diemen's Land ; its Rise, Progress. . . . 2nd 
ed. i2mo. London, 1834. 

Peron, F. — ^Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres Australes. 2 vols. 

4to. Paris, 1807-18 16, and 2 atlases, fol. 1811. 

These volumes contain a complete account of the voyagers' transactions 

in Tasmania ; the atlases contain coloured portraits of the Tasmanian 

aborigines, drawings of their implements, canoes, etc. P^ron was naturalist 

to Baudin's Expedition. 

Prinsep, Augustus, Mrs. — The Journal of a Voyage from Calcutta 
to Van Diemen's Land, comprising a Description of the 
Colony during six months* residence . . . Second Edition. 
Svo. pp. viii. and n8. London, 1833. 

Praner Bey. — In Joum. Anth. Inst. vi. 1877. 

Quatrefages de Breau, A. de, and Hamy, Ernest T. — Crania Ethnica : 
Les Cranes des Races Humaines. 2 vols. 4to. Paris, 

Report Aboriginal Committee. — See Colonies and Slaves. 

Ross, James. — See Hobart Town Almanack. 

Rossel, E. P. E. de. — ^Voyage d'Entrecasteaux. 2 vols. 4to. Paris, 
This is another account of the expedition described by La Billardi^re. 


Royal Society of Tasmania, Papers and Proceedings of. 8vo. 
Hobart Town, 1849-87. 
Contains contributions by Milligan, Ch. Meredith, Jas. Scott, Thos. Scott, 
Thirkell, and others. 

Strzelecki, Paul E. de, Count, — Physical Description of New South 
Wales and Van Diemen's Land. 8vo. London, 1845. 
The author rarely distinguishes between the aborigines of the mai nl a n d of 
Australia and of the bland of Tasmania. 

Smyth, R. Brough. — The Aborigines of Victoria: with Notes 
relating to the Habits of the Natives of other parts of Australia 
and Tasmania. 2 vols. 4to. Melbourne, 1878. 
The account of the Tasmanians is contained in the second volume. 

Scott, Jas. — *S>^ Roy. Soc. Tasm. 

Scott, Thos.— -S^^f Milligan. 

Tasman, Abel Jansen. — Journal van de Reis naar het Onbekende 

Zuidland in den Jare 1642. Edited by Jacob Swaart. 8vo. 

Amsterdam, i860. 
Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, Agriculture, Statistics, etc. 

3 vols. 8vo. Hobart Town, 1842-49. 
Contains papers by Davies, Dove, Gell, Gunn. 
Topinard, Paul. — Etude sur les Tasmaniens. Vol. IIL M6moires 

de la Soc. d*Anthropologie. Paris. 
Thirkell.— ^^<f Roy. Soc. Tas. 
Van Diemen's Land Annual for 1834. Edited by H. Melville. 

1 2mo. Hobart. 
Wentworth, W. C. — A Statistical, Historical, and Political Descrip- 
tion of the Colony of New South Wales, and its Dependent 

Settlements in Van Diemen*s Land . . . 8vo. pp. xii. and 446. 

London, 18 19. 
West, John, Rev. — The History of Tasmania. 2 vols. 8vo. 

Launceston, 1852. 
This contains the best account of the aborigines which has yet appeared. 
Widowson, Henry. — Present State of Van Diemen's Land. 8vo. 

London, 1829. 


Form and Size. 

The very remarkable diflference in the description of these 
people handed down to us by eye-witnesses may perhaps induce 
the belief that there was ocularly appreciable difference in the 
physiognomy of the various members of the tribes. This belief 
finds support in the statement of Kelly (Colonies and Slaves, p. 5 1), 
■who states that "the tribes to the southward and westward are 
a much finer race of men than those to the eastward and north- 
ward." It also finds more limited support in an examination 
of their portraits and photographs. The differences are not 
very marked, but still they are appreciable. We will now give 
a detailed description of the face, and follow it up with others of 
their general physiognomy and other physical characteristics. 

The forehead was high, prominent (Laplace, III. ch. xviii. 
p. 200), narrow and running to a peak (Davies) ; the malar bones 
were prominent, and the cheeks hollow (West, p. 77), and the faces 
massive (Dumoutier, ix. p. 134). 

Eyes. — ^Their eyes were small (Prinsep, p. 79; Marion, p. 28), 
and hollow (Laplace, p. 200; Prinsep, p. 79; Dumoutier, p. 134). 
Breton says (p. 349) they were more deeply set than those of 
any other people, and Milligan (p. 25) that the natives "had 
projecting eyebrows and sunken orbits," agreeing herein with 
Leigh, who describes them as much sunk in the head and covered 
with thick eyebrows (pp. 242-3). According to Laplace (p. 200) 
the eyes were yellowish, and according to Marion (p. 28) of a 
bilious colour. Cook (Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.) says they had " good 
eyes," while Anderson records them as being of a middling size, 
less clear than in us, and, though not remarkably quick or piercing, 
such as give a frank cheerful cast to the countenance. This is very 
different from Davies, who describes the eyes as dark, wild, and 
strongly expressive of the passions. According to West (p. 77) the 
eyes are full, the eyelid drooping, the iris dark brown, the pupil 
large and jet black. 

Nose, — This has been described as flat (Milligan, p. 25 ; Davies ; 


Marion, p. 28 ; and Leigh, p. 242), not remarkably flat by Cook 
(Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.), and as very flat by Widowson (p. 187). 
According to Laplace (p. 200) it is short and flat, and Anderson says 
their noses, though not flat, are broad and full. According also to 
Calder (Joum. p. 20) the nose was broad. Prinsep (p. 79) describes 
the nose as broad and short, and she speaks of the nostrils being 
widely distended. Davies, as well as Leigh (p. 242), say the nostrils 
were wide, and Widowson (p. 187) that the natives had immense 
nostrils. Dumoutier (ch. ix. p. 1 34) tells us the nose was exceedingly 
big, being about the quarter of the entire length of the face. 

Mouth, — ^Anderson considered the mouth rather wide ; Davies and 
Widowson (p. 187) consider it wide ; Marion (p. 28) gave them very 
large mouths ; while Dumoutier (ch. ix. p. 1 34) says the mouth was 
extremely broad. Laplace says it was enormous ; Prinsep (p. 79) 
that it was uncommonly large ; while Calder*s account is that the 
mouth generally protruded extremely (Joum. p. 20). The lips have 
been described as not remarkably thick (Cook, Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi. ; 
Dumoutier, ch. ix. p. 134); as thick (Laplace, p. 200); as slightly 
thickened (Milligan, p. 25) ; and as particularly thick (Widowson, 
p. 187). On the other hand, Lloyd (p. 43) says the imderlip was 
smaller than that of the negro ; and Davies, " the lips are not full, 
like those of the negroes, at least not generally so." 

Teeth. — Cook (Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.) found their teeth tolerably 
even, and Anderson broad, but not equal. Davies says their teeth 
were large, strong and even, while Laplace (p. 200) describes them 
as "pointed." La Billardi^re tells us they all had very good 
teeth (II. p. 39), and Widowson that they were tolerably good 
(p. 187). According to Strzelecki (p. 334) they were large and 
white ; according to Marion (p. 28) very white, and according to 
Lloyd of an "exquisite whiteness" (p. 43); while Anderson 
describes their teeth, "either from nature or dirt, are not of so true 
a white as is usual among a people of a black colour." 

Jaws, — Prinsep (p. 79), who was not by any means enamoured 
of the race, states the jaws to have been elongated like those 
of the ourang-outang I According to Davies the jawbones are 
large, strong and prominent, and show a great width in front, 
agreeing herein somewhat with Anderson's statement that the 
lower part of the face projects a good deal. La Billardi^re (11. 
p. 39) makes the curious statement that " in the children the upper 
jaw advances considerably beyond the lower, but sinking as they 
grow up, both jaws are nearly even in the adult." 

" The native of Van Diemen*s Land possesses, on the whole, a 


well-proportioned frame. His limbs, less fleshy or massive than 
those of a well-formed African, exhibit all the symmetry and 
peculiarly well-defined muscular development and well-knit articu- 
lations and roimdness which characterize the negro" (Strzelecki, 
PP* 334'"336)- Cook (Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.) thought the people 
slender, and Anderson {ibid,) well proportioned; while Prinsep 
(p. 79) says they were "short in stature, with disproportionately 
thin limbs and shapeless bodies," and Mortimer (p. 19) that most 
of the party he encountered were of the middle size, and though 
lean, were square and muscular. Laplace (III. ch. viii. p. 200) 
speaks of the lanky limbs and inflated stomachs of the native ; but 
Dixon (p. 22) agrees with the others that the limbs were muscular 
and well-proportioned. La Billardi^re (ch. v. p. 222) mentions a 
very tall and muscular savage, and elsewhere (ch. x. p. 73) he 
speaks of a savage of middle size whose figure was very finely 
proportioned. To Marion (p. 29) they " seemed to be generally 
slender, fairly well made, broad-chested, and the shoulders thrown 
back," and West describes (p. 77) them with " breast arched and 
full, the limbs round, lean and muscular, the hands small, the feet 
flat and turned inwards." They had small natural parts (Marion, 
p. 29). In describing an interview with fourteen of the aborigines, 
P^ron says, "The majority of them were young men of about 
sixteen to twenty-five years of age ; two or three appeared to be 
thirty to thirty-five years old ; one alone, older than the rest, 
appeared to be fifty to fifty-five years of age. . . . Generally all 
the individuals were of a sufficient stature for their age. Among 
those arrived at manhood there was one who was not less than 
1 metre 786 millimetres (5 feet io| inches), but he was much 
thinner and slimmer than his fellows. All the others were from 
1 metre 678 millimetres to 732 millimetres (5 feet 6 to 8 inches) 
in height. One of them . . . was a young man, twenty-four to 
twenty-five years of age, called Bara-Ourou, with a much finer 
constitution than the others, although spoilt by the same consti- 
tutional defect common to all his race, that is to say, with a well- 
developed head, ample and fleshy shoulders, broad chest, and very 
muscular buttocks, all his extremities were slender and weak, 
particularly his legs ; his stomach also, proportionately, was much 
too big" (ch. xiii. p. 280). One man killed by Marion*s party was 
five feet three inches in height ^ (Marion, p. 31). 

Laplace (III. ch. xviii. p. 202) deemed the women as repulsive 

* Old French measure. 


[_sic] in physique as the men, and Lloyd (pp. 43-44) speaks of their 
attenuated frames as "comparable only to animated skeletons. 
The spinsters, however, . . . presented a marked and pleasing 
contrast, . . . possessing a tolerable amount of rounded limb . . . 
and sleekness of person." Widowson considered the women 
better formed than the men (p. 187). Of two women P6ron writes 
(ch. xii. pp. 222-223): "The former appeared to be 40 years of 
age, and the large folds of the skin of her stomach showed 
unmistakeably that she had been the mother of several children. 
. . . The young woman, of 26 to 28 years of age, had a fairly 
robust constitution, . . . her breast, already slightly withered, 
appeared nevertheless fairly well formed. Of a party of some 
twenty aboriginal females he writes (ch. xii. p. 252) : "Their forms 
were generally thin and withered, their breasts long and hanging ; 
in a word, all the details of their physical constitution were 
repulsive. One must, however, except from this general description 
two or three young girls of from 15 to 16 years of age, whose 
forms were fairly agreeable and their contours rather pleasing, and 
whose breasts were firm and well placed, although the end of the 
mamelles was rather too big and too long." P6ron also speaks 
(ch. xii. p. 223) of another female native about 26 to 28 years of 
age, who was still suckling her little girl: "her breasts . . • 
appeared . . . sufficiently furnished with milk.*' While on this 
subject we may mention Mr. Davies' remark to the effect that as 
the women " suckle their children over their shoulders, the breasts 
of the females are consequently preposterously long." The 
following results were obtained by Mr. Hull, in 1849, when he 
weighed and measured the children then in the orphan schools at 
Newtown. They showed " that they were shorter than the white 
race of the same age, but much heavier. One young female, 
eleven years of age, weighed 102 pounds; another of eight, 86 
pounds. The average weight of European children of these ages 
is stated to be 78 pounds and 60 pounds respectively: — 60 as 
compared to 86; 78 as compared to 102" (Hull quoted by Smyth, 
p. 382). 


Several writers have given us anything but a flattering account 
of the looks of the Tasmanians. We are told their lineaments 
were gross, flat, and forbidding (Dixon, p. 22); their features were 
extremely disagreeable (Melville, p. 346) : they had a most hideous 
expression of countenance (Prinsep, p. 79) ; their features were 




flat and disagreeable (Breton, p. 349) : features anything but 
pleasing (Widowson, p. 187). Lloyd speaks of the women as 
being repulsively ugly (p. 43), and West that the women had 
masculine features (II. p. 77). P^ron's description runs thus : — 
" Amongst these savages the physiognomy is very expressive ; the 
passions depict themselves with force, and succeed each other 
rapidly. As changeable as their affections, all the features alter 
and modify according to them. Their expression is fearful and 
wild when roused ; restless and treacherous when in doubt ; and 
when laughing, of a mad and almost convulsive gaiety. Amongst 
the aged the expression is sorrowful, hard, and gloomy; but in 
general, among all the individuals, and whenever one looks at 
them, their expression has something fierce and sinister about it, 
which does not escape the attentive observer, and corresponds 
only too completely with their character" (ch. xiii. p. 280). On 
another occasion P^ron speaks of a native whose "physiognomy 
had nothing harsh or wild about it ; his eyes were lively and spiriiuel^ 
and his air expressed at once good will and surprise" (ch. xii. 
p. 221). On the other hand, Calder reports more mildly of them 
(Joum. p. 20) : ** The features of neither sex were prepossessing, 
especially after they passed middle age. ... In youth, some of 
the women were passably good looking, but not so the most of 
them ; " and elsewhere he says (Wars) : " Our natives were not 
generally a good-looking race. . . . Some of the youths of both 
sexes were passable enough, and one woman whom I remember 
. . . was remarkably handsome. Some of the men, too, though 
very savage-looking fellows, were, in most respects, in no way the 
inferior of the European. A native of one of the West Coast 
tribes . . . possessed as fine and thoughtful features as any one 
would desire to look upon." Lloyd speaks of the yet unmarried 
women as having something winning about them (p. 44). Cook 
(Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.) says their features were far from disagreeable, 
and also that many of the children had fine features {ihid,^ ; he is 
supported by Backhouse (p. 174), who found "many of their 
countenances fine and expressive." 


There has been some difference of opinion as to whether the 
hair of the Tasmanians was woolly or not, and which difference 
may have arisen from the peculiar way in which the natives wore 
their hair. Bass (Collins, p. 187) did not think the hair woolly, 


and Flinders (p. 187) says "it had not the appearance of being 
woolly." Milligan (Beacon, p. 25) speaks of the hair being 
crisp. Peron (p. 252) and Prinsep (p. 79) say it was frizzled, 
while Backhouse (p. 78), Breton (p. 349), Calder (p. 22), La 
Billardi^re (p. 38), Jeffreys (p. 125), Widowson (p. 187), Mortimer 
(p. 19), and Henderson (p. 144), all state it to be black and 
woolly. Foumeaux says, " Their hair was black and as woolly as 
that of any native of Guinea," while Davies considers it "black 
and woolly, but not so much so as that of negroes." Dixon 
(p. 22) compared it to that of the negro, but Lloyd (p. 43) 
only says it is coarse, short and curly. Henderson is very positive 
of ** there being no tribe, or individuals composing part of a tribe 
in Van Diemen*s Land who have been found with the smooth 
black hair of the Asiatic." Strzelecki says (p. 334) that some 
natives have it "soft and curling; while with others again it 
is of a woolly texture, similar to that of the Africans ; " but as this 
writer makes no distinction between the aborigines of Tasmania 
and those of the continent of Australia, his opinion in this matter 
cannot be accepted. 

Scientifically the hair has been thus described : " Two specimens 
from Van Diemen*s Land, one black, the other yellowish-white, 
approach the hair of the New Irelanders by their tresses, their 
diameters, and internal dispositions. Diameters of the black hairs 
= 25 : 15 ; of the light hairs = 25 : 15 to 27 : 20. The first has no 
medullary substance ; the second has it much enlarged " (Pruner- 
Bey, p. 81).* "The Tasmanians had hair growing in small 
corkscrew ringlets. . . . The individual hairs . . . are fine, and, 
in section, of a very eccentrically elliptical or flattened form. 
Upon this form depends the tendency to twist, and the kind of 
curliness which is seen in these small corkscrew locks. This 
peculiarity allowed them to load the hair with red ochre, and 
make it thus hang down in separate small ringlets of var}'ing 
length. Such ringlets give a distinguishing character to all the 
correct portraits of the Tasmanians . . . The Tasmanians had 
no deficiency of hair, but were well provided on the head, face, 
chest, pubes, and other parts ; they had whiskers, moustaches, and 
beard ; but all of the same slender character, inclined to twist 
into spiral tufts. On the borders of the whiskers there were little 
tufted pellets of hair, like pepper-corns upon the cheeks. The 

* For further details of the hair as a comparative study sec the Chapter on 


beard grew precisely in the same manner, and the pubic hair was 
not different" (Baraard Davis, pp. 9-10). 

La Billardi^re tells us the men had the back, breast, shoulders 
and arms covered with downy hair (II. pp. 59-60). 


Anderson says, "Their skin was black. . . . The females were 
as black as the men," and later on, " Their colour is a dull black, 
and not quite so deep as that of the African negroes." Peron 
(p. 252) says their skin and hair was black, and so does Laplace 
(p. 200) and Calder (p. 20): "Their bodies were naturally a dull 
black colour." Breton (p. 349) describes them to have had a 
"perfectly black complexion." According to Milligan (Beacon, 
p. 25), "they had a complexion and skin of a dark brown, or 
nearly black colour," and according to Henderson (p. 144), "The 
inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land are slightly darker coloured 
than those of Port Jackson ; and considerably more so than those 
in the interior of New South Wales." Mortimer (p. 1 9) describes 
them as of a dull black or dusky colour ; Backhouse (p. 78) gives 
them a dark olive colour; West (IL p. 77) aflSrms that: "The 
skin is bluish-black ; less glossy than the native of the continent ; " 
and Davies, " Their colour is bluish-black, less black than that of 
the African negroes, but slightly more so than Lascars." Peron 
also says they were black; but La Billardi^re on one occasion 
(I. p. 222) says they were of a blackish colour, and on another 
(II. p. 38), "Their skin is not of a very deep black." Finally, 
Jeffreys maintains (p. 125), "Both sexes are of a jet black, and not, 
as some writers have described them, of a brown colour." 


The only authority who makes any mention of the smell emanating 
from the bodies of these natives is Davies, who says: "The men 
grease their bodies. . . . Unconnected with this besmearing, a 
very peculiar odour proceeds from their bodies." 


Climbing Trees, — We have some good accounts of the manner in 
which the natives used to climb trees. Mr. Thirkell (Papers, etc. 
Roy. Soc Tas. Aug. 1873) thus describes how this was accom- 
plished. "The mode of climbing trees was to get a grass band 


twisted, put it round the tree, and hold the two ends in one hand, 
and then with a sharp flint stone they would chip the bark down- 
wards and make a notch for the big toe, then change hands and 
do the same on the other side." Backhouse's description is more 
detailed. "The climbing of the lofty, smooth-trunked gum trees, 
by the women, to obtain opossums, which lodge in the hollows of 
decayed branches, is one of the most remarkable feats I ever 
witnessed. This is effected without making any holes for the 
thumbs or great toes, as is common among the natives of New 
South Wales, except where the bark is rough and loose, at the 
base of the tree. In this a few notches are cut by means of a 
sharp flint or hatchet ; the latter being preferred. A rope, twice as 
long as is necessary to encompass the tree, is then thrown around 
it. In former times this was made of tough grass, or strips of 
kangaroo-skin, but one of hemp is more generally used. The left 
hand is firmly twisted into one end of the rope, the middle of 
which is tightly grasped by the right, the hatchet is placed on the 
bare, closely-cropped head, and the feet are placed against the 
tree : a step or two is then advanced, and the body, at the same 
time, is brought into a posture so nearly exact as to admit the 
rope, by a compound motion, to be slackened, and at the same 
moment hitched a little further up the tree. By this means a 
woman will ascend a lofty tree, with a smooth trunk, almost as 
quickly as a man would go up a ladder. Should a piece of loose 
bark impede the ascent of the rope, the portion of rope held in the 
right hand is taken between the teeth, or swung behind the right 
leg and caught between the great and the fore toe and fixed 
against the tree. One hand is thus freed, to take the hatchet from 
the head, and with it to dislodge the loose bark. On arriving at a 
large limb, the middle of the rope is also secured in the left hand, 
and the loose end is thrown over the limb by the right hand, by 
which also the end is caught, and the middle grasped, till the left 
hand is cleared. This is then wrapped into the middle of the rope, 
and the feet are brought up to the wrinkles of the bark, which 
exist below the large limbs. One end of the rope is then pulled 
downward, and this causes the other to ascend, so that, by an 
effort of the feet, the body is turned on the upper side of the limb 
of the tree. In descending, the woman places one arm on each 
side of the limb of the tree, and swings the rope with one hand till 
she catches it with the other : she then turns off the limb, and 
swings underneath it, till she succeeds in steadying herself with her 
feet against the trunk, around which she then throws the loose end 


of the rope. Having secured this, she lets go the portion by 
which she was suspended under the limb, and descends in the 
manner in which she ascended. Although this is done with ease 
by women in vigour, one who had been out of health, but seemed 
recovered, could not get many steps oflf the ground, so that not 
only skill, but a considerable measure of strength, appears neces- 
sary to ascend the gigantic gum-trees." Widowson's account 
(p. 190), on the other hand, describes a method of climbing trees 
which is accomplished without the use of the rope : " They are 
extremely expert in climbing, and can reach the top of the largest 
forest trees, without the aid of branches : they effect this by means 
of a small sharp flint, which they clasp tightly in the ball of their 
four fingers, and, having cut a notch out of the bark, they easily 
ascend, with the large toe of each foot in one notch, and their 
curiously manufactured hatchet in the other." * 

Method of Carrying Children. — There appear to have been two 
methods of carrying children common among the Tasmanians. 
The one described by Widowson (p. 190), who says the children 
are generally carried (by the women) astride, across the shoulders, 
in a careless manner; and by Calder (p. 22), "The woman 
carried her infant, not in her arms, but astride her shoulders, 
holding its hands." The other as described by West (II. p. 79), 
who mentions that a woman, with a new-bom infant, followed 
the tribe ; the infant was slung on the back, and suckled over 
the shoulder ; " and by Davies, who only differs from West in 
saying that the infants were carried in a kangaroo skin. Kangaroo 
rats or bandicoots were slung upon their backs or fixed to a stick 
like a rabbit man's in London (Ross, p. 154). 

Sitting and Reclining, — Lloyd mentions (p. 113) coming unawares 
across a group of natives seated in tailor- fash ion, occupied in 
making spears. Bligh states (p. 51), ** They talked to us sitting 
on their heels, with their knees close into their armpits ; " and 
P^ron repeats (pp. 226 and 251) that the natives squatted on their 
heels. With regard to the women, La Billardi^re mentions (II. 
pp. 47-48), "We observed with surprise, the singular posture of 
the women, when they sit on the ground. ... It appears to be 
a point of decorum with these ladies, as they sit with their knees 
asunder, to cover with one foot what modesty bids them conceal." 
And Ross in describing an aboriginal meal which he witnessed, 
says, "These aborigines, I found, were quite . . . classical in 

* It has been said that the notches cut in the trees were about 34 feet apart. 



adopting the Roman method of reclining at meals, lying round 
their fire, resting on one elbow and holding the half-roasted leg 
of an opossum, eating, in the other." "At night they encircle 
themselves round a large fire, and sleep in a sitting posture, with 
their heads between their knees" (Widowson, p. 190). 

Standing. — ^According to Anderson (Cook's Sec. Voy. Bk. I. ch. 
vi.), " The posture of which they seem fondest is to stand with one 
side forward, or the upper part of the body gently reclined, and one 
hand grasping (across the back) the opposite arm, which hangs 
down by the projecting side," which account of their peculiar 
mode of holding the arms is corroborated by La Billardi^re (II. 
p. 49) in the following : " The men followed with a grave pace, 
each carrying his hands resting one against the other upon his 
loins ; or sometimes the left hand passing behind the back, and 
grasping the right arm about the middle." This holding of the 
upper limbs in this peculiar fashion may perhaps have something 
to do in connection with their method of carrying their spears 
by their toes so as to appear quite unarmed, for we read (Meredith, 
p. 195), "The aborigines, when they wished to appear unarmed, 
had a habit of walking without any weapon in their hands, but 
very adroitly trailing their spears, which they held fast by their 
toes, along the ground after them, to be picked up at any moment 
they were required ; " and Davies says, "If the ground is smooth 
upon which they are walking, as a beach for instance, they have 
a habit of trailing their spears after them, the point held in some 
manner between their great toe and that next it ; this seems to be 
that they may have their waddy ready to heave at any small object 
that may appear. The spear is transferred from the foot to the 
hand in an instant." It would appear that this stealthy carrying 
of arms is a warlike precaution, for Calder (pp. 21-22) says: 
" The Tasmanian aboriginal, in advancing on a victim whom he 
meant to kill, treacherously approached . . . with his hands 
clasped and resting on the top of his head, a favourite posture 
of the black; . . . but all the time he was dragging a spear 
behind him, held between his toes, in a manner that must have 
taken long to acquire. Then by a motion as unexpected as it 
was rapid, it was transferred to the hand, and the victim pierced 
before he could lift a hand or stir a step." The first white man, 
George Munday, who was killed by an aborigine, fell a victim to 
this practice; for, as Knopwood relates (p. 53), "the native had 
a spear concealed, and held by his toes, and as Munday turned 
from him, he caught up his spear and threw it at him." 


Agility, — ^West states (pp. 81-2) that the member of the tribe who 
had committed an offence "had to stand while a certain number 
of spears were thrown at him," but that, "the keenness of his 
eye, and the agility of his motions, usually enabled him to escape 
a fatal wound," and Calder (p. 60) describes similar agility when 
alluding to the inter-tribal wars in which they engaged. These 
fights, he says, " often lasted for hours, but such was the dexterity 
of the savage in evading the spears of his adversaries that they 
seldom struck him. Without moving an inch from his post, he 
would avoid a discharge of three or four well-directed spears sent 
at him at the same instant. By a contortion of his body, a 
movement of his head to the right or left, or raising his leg or 
arm, he seldom failed escaping them all, any one of which would 
have transfixed the less agile European with the most perfect 
certainty." Their quickness is further vouched for by an account 
of P6ron (p. 221) during one of the excursions, "We arrived at a 
small creek, at the end of which was a pretty valley. . . . We 
had hardly set foot ashore before two aborigines showed them- 
selves at the top of a hillock precipitous almost to the top. At 
the signs of friendship we made them, one of them threw himself, 
rather than descended, from the top of the rock, and in the 
twinkling of an eye was in our midst." Rossel (I. ch. iv. p. 99) 
gives an account of a woman who on being frightened slipped 
down from the top of a rock on to the sea-shore, and La 
Billardi^re adds (ch. v. p. 234), this precipice was forty feet 
high, and that the woman ran away and was soon hidden by the 
rocks below. Of their nimbleness in another direction West 
(p. 85) tells how some aborigines "did" some Europeans: "A 
shooting party approached a native camp near the Clyde, and 
found they had just abandoned their half-cooked opossums and 
their spears: excepting a small group of wattle bushes, at the 
distance of ten yards, the ground was free of all but the lofty 
trees: the travellers immediately scoured this thicket, but on 
turning round they, in great astonishment, discovered that 
opossums and spears were all gone. It was the work of a 
moment, but no traces of the aborigines were to be seen." 
They appear to have possessed that extraordinary faculty common 
to nomadic savages in other parts of the world of making them- 
selves indistinguishable from the surrounding scenery while still 
perfectly visible. West quotes (p. 86) the following from Ross: 
" I remember a fellow of the Grimaldi breed : he undertook on 
a fine summer's evening, to place himself among the tree stumps 


of a field, so that not two of a large party should agree as to his 
identity. He reclined like a Roman on his elbow, projected 
his arm as if a small branch, and drew down his head. No one 
could tell which was the living stump, and were obliged to call 
him to come out and show himself." This art was no doubt 
more probably made use of in hunting than in warfare, and 
the tribe would no doubt be aware of the tactics of the enemy. 
** Both the men and women hold themselves very erect ; indeed 
the men, probably from the habit of balancing the spear, throw 
back the shoulders so much as almost to make it appear a 
deformity" (Davies). Marion also states that they kept their 
shoulders back, and Dixon (p. 22) that "the body was erect 
and the gait firm and stately." Bunce's party (p. 55) admired 
their upright and even elegant gait. La Billardi^re (II. p. 41) 
speaks on one occasion of their pace being " suflSciently slow for 
us to follow them with ease." When they came in contact with 
the Europeans, their knowledge of the power of climbing did not 
come amiss, for Mr. Meredith relates (p. 206) that "a wounded 
native woman having been shut up for the night in a hut, the 
latter was visited in the early morning to see how the patient 
fared; but, though the door had been closed and fastened, the 
chimney had not and up it the dark lady had gone," while on 
an earlier occasion La Billardi^re (II. pp. 39-40) found himself 
watched from an unexpected quarter, thus : " I had not perceived 
the young girls for some time; . . . but, happening to look 
behind me, I saw, with surprise, seven who had perched theni- 
selves on a stout limb of a tree, more than three yards from the 
ground, whence they attentively watched our slightest movements." 

Joy, — ^Their joy was expressed by loud bursts of laughter ; at the 
same time, they carried their hands to their heads, and made a 
quick tapping with their feet on the ground (La Billardi^re, II. 
p. 72), and Backhouse (p. 93) mentions that when "Jumbo," a 
native woman, was shown a musical box, " listening with intensity, 
her ears moved like those of a dog or horse, to catch the sound." 

Anger, — Backhouse (p. 103) mentions that to seize a stick, and 
brandish it about, " is common under circumstances of rage among^ 
this people." 

Bad Habits, — Of one habit among one lot of men La Billardi^re 
(II. p. 72) says: "We were much surprised to see most of them 
holding the extremity of the prepuce with the left hand, no doubt 
from a bad habit, for we did not observe anything of the kind 
among some others who soon afterwards joined them." This habit 





may have been common, as P6ron gives an illustration of a group 
in which one man is drawn with the left hand in the position 

We cannot perhaps close this chapter better than with Count 
Strzelecki's summary of their motions (p. 336) : " Compared with 
the negro, he is swifter in his movements, and in his gait more 
graceful. His agility, adroitness, and flexibility, when running, 
climbing, or stalking his prey, are more fully displayed ; and when 
beheld in the posture of striking, or throwing his spear, his attitude 
leaves nothing to be desired in point of manly grace." 


Marion, who was in Tasmania in the middle of summer, found 
the climate very cold, and as he says (p. 34): "We could not 
understand how the natives could live there in their naked state." 
La Billardidre was also astonished that the natives could live 
in such a climate without clothing; his words are (II. ch. x. 
p. 34) : " It appeared to us very astonishing, that in so high a 
■ latitude, where, at a period of the year so little advanced as the 
present, we already experienced the cold at night to be pretty 
severe, these people did not feel the necessity of clothing them- 
selves. Even the women were for the most part entirely naked, 
as well as the men." The same writer bears witness to the good 
general health enjoyed by these savages. Thus (II. ch. x. p. 47) : 
"I imagined that these people passing most of their nights 
in the open air, in a climate of which the temperature is so 
variable, must have been subject to violent inflammations of the 
eyes; yet all of them speared to have their sight very good 
except one who had a cataract," and (ch. xi. p. 77), " We did not 
see a single person who had the least trace of any disease of the 
skin." If the state of a person's teeth may be taken as a standard 
of health, then La Billardi^re's evidence is still more emphatic. 
"We did not see one among them [forty-two natives] in whom 
a single tooth of the upper jaw was wanting ; indeed, they had all 
very good teeth" (ch. x. p. 39). On the other hand, he remarks that 
their mode of life exposed them to wounds. "These savages, 
going completely naked, are liable to wound themselves, particu- 
larly in the lower extremities, when they pass through the woods. 
We observed one, who walked with difficulty, and one of whose 
feet was wrapped up in a piece of skin" {ibid,), Widowson 
(p. 192), writing after the settlement of the Europeans had taken 


place, says : " These people are subject to a disease which causes 
the most loathsome ulcerated sores. ... It is occasioned by 
a filthy mode of life. . . . Their having no means of procuring 
vegetables, besides being constantly exposed to the weather, 
together with their offensive habits of living, produce the disease 
above mentioned, with its fatal consequences." But this sweeping 
statement must be taken with reservations, for in the chapter on 
Food it will be seen that vegetables and fruits formed a large 
portion of their sustenance. Backhouse, who visited these people 
as early as 1832, mentions (p. 105) that the inhabitants on the 
west coast had scars which "appeared to have proceeded from 
irregular surgical cuts, and were principally upon the chest, which 
is very likely to be affected by inflammation, that often speedily 
issues in death. A large proportion of these people died from 
this cause, in the course of the late inclement season." Davies 
also refers (p. 417) to the prevalence of disease of the lungs: 
** Pulmonary complaints appear to be by far the most prevalent, 
particularly rapid inflammation of the lungs. Rheumatism is said 
to be common amongst them, as is likewise face-ache. They all 
suffer more or less from scabby sores. In the children these are 
dreadful, and disgusting in the extreme; with them all parts of 
the body are affected : with the adults the sores are more confined 
to the head : these are doubtless caused by their coarse living, 
aided by their dirty habits." In contrast to their habits as 
mentioned above by Marion and La Billardi^re, he says (p. 415): 
** The aborigines . . . cannot . . . bear constant exposure to bad 
weather ; when such sets in, they will cower round their fires, under 
the lee of their break-winds, . . . until a change takes place." 
Calder, who has gone more fully into the particulars of their ill- 
nesses, writes as follows (Joum. pp. 14, 15): "Their rapid declen- 
sion after the colony was founded is traceable, as far as our proofs 
allow us to judge, to the prevalence of epidemic disorders. . . . 
The naked savage soon discovered the comforts of clothing, and 
such things as blankets and clothing were often given them by the 
settlers; . . . but ... he often kept his prize no longer than it 
suited the idle habits of the wanderer to carry it. Hence he was 
wrapped up like a mummy one week, and was as naked as a new- 
bom infant the next. The climate of Tasmania is a variable one, 
. . . there are very rapid changes of temperature, from moderate 
heat to coolness. . . . Now any person, whether savage or 
civilized, who wraps up at one time, and goes perfectly naked at 
another, exposed to any frequent changes of temperature, ... is 


assuredly laying the foundation of fatal consumptive complaints, 
from which (such was the peculiar constitution of the Tasmanian 
savage) almost immediate death was certain, and whenever he took 
cold it seems to have settled on his lungs from the first. . . . 
Robinson says * they are universally susceptible of cold, and unless 
the utmost providence is taken to check its progress at an early 
period, it fixes itself on the lungs, and gradually assumes the 
complaint spoken of, i.e. the Catarrhal Fever* (Report, May 24, 
1831). Again he says: 'The number of aboriginals along the 
Western Coast has been considerably reduced since the time of 
my first visit [1830]; a mortality has raged amongst them, which, 
. . . with other causes, has rendered their numbers very incon- 
siderable (July 29, 1832).'" 


Under this heading we can only give some information collected 
by La Billardidre. In Vol. ii. ch. x. p. 49, he remarks : ** In one 
of them [young women] it was observed that the right breast 
acquired its full size, while the left was still perfectly flat." In 
ch. xi. p. 76, he says: "We observed some [natives] in whom 
one of the middle teeth of the upper jaw was wanting, and 
others in whom both were gone," and in the same chapter (p. 76), 
" In many the navel appeared puffed up, and very prominent, 
but we assured ourselves, that this deformity was not occasioned 
by a hernia. Perhaps it is owing to the too great distance at 
which the umbilical cord is separated from the abdomen." 

Physical Powers. 

P^ron seems to have taken considerable trouble to ascertain the 
true state of the physical powers of the aborigines, and collected, 
so far as he could, all the details which would in any way tend to 
throw light on this subject. He records (pp. 235-236) that on one 
occasion M. Maurouard, one of the midshipmen, on Bruny Island 
"had proposed to one amongst them, who seemed the most robust, 
to wrestle with him ; and that the Van Diemen's Lander had ac- 
cepted the challenge; was several times thrown by the French 
middy, and forced to acknowledge his inferiority." On another 
occasion, also on Bruny Island, he relates (p. 256): **It was not 
long before we encountered two women, who, from the top of a 
neighbouring hill, were directing their steps towards the^ sea-shore. 


. . . My companions started to pursue them, but had hardly gone 
200 paces when the women, whom they thought easily to overtake, 
were already out of sight : this I had predicted beforehand, having 
had several opportunities of convincing myself that the inhabitants 
of these shores were in general much swifter in running than we 
were." In describing an interview with fourteen male aborigines, 
P6ron says (pp. 285-286): "Wishing at any cost to repeat 
certain observations which I had already begun in the Channel 
[d'Entrecasteaux] on the development of the physical powers of 
the people of these regions, I had Regnier's dynamometer brought 
from the boat, where I had till then left it. I hoped that the form 
and use of the instrument might perhaps fix the attention of the 
savages whom I wished to submit to its test. I was not mistaken. 
They admired the instrument ; all wished to touch it at the same 
time, and I had great trouble in preventing its being broken. 
After giving them an idea of the object in view by a series of 
attempts ourselves, we began to make them act themselves on the 
instrument : seven individuals had already submitted, when one of 
them, who had previously tried, and had been unable to make the 
needle of the dynamometer go as far as I could, appeared indignant 
at this impotence, and, as if to give the instrument the lie direct, 
he seized my wrist angrily, and seemed to defy me to disengage 
myself. I succeeded, however, after a few efforts, and having in 
turn seized him with all my strength, he was unable, in spite of 
all his endeavours, to free himself, which seemed to cover him 
with confusion and fill him with anger." Later on he continues 
(p. 449): ** Nevertheless, all my [dynamometrical] observations 
having been made on the best constituted individuals of the 
nation, and the results being very decided and, above all, certain, 
one can, without fear of mistake, apply these results to the 
generality of the people of this race: they indicate a want of 
vigour truly remarkable: in fact, although my experiments had 
been repeated on the most vigorous class of the population — 
those from 18 to 40 years of age — not a single Van Diemen's 
Lander was able to press the needle beyond the 60th degree, and 
the mean of the twelve observations which I was able to make was 
only 50*6 kilogrammes. . . . The opposing strength of man to 
man confirms these d priori returns of the instrument. Our sailors 
always won when they wrestled with the savages, and the latter 
were not Itickier with one of our ofiicers, M. Maurouard ; the one 
amongst them that seemed to us the most robust . . . wished to 
provoke him to wrestle ; the ofiicer threw him easily, several times 


running, and my own experience had like results." P6ron's 
similar experiments carried out among other people gave the 
following results for their manual force expressed in kilogrammes 

Van Diemen's Landers 50*6 

New Hollanders (Australians) 5 1 '8 

Natives of Timor 587 

Frenchman 69*2 

Englishman 7 1 '4 

**The age given in the table, on p. 26, is only approximately 
correct, the numerical system of the people of Van Diemen's Land 
and New Holland not extending beyond three,' and the individuals 
here concerned had not any idea of their age " (p. 476). 

Contrary to P6ron, La Billardi^re states (11. ch. x. p. 49) that 
the European could run better than the natives, but the circum- 
stances of the race which we give tend to show that this was not 
a fair test : " Four young girls, also, were of the party . . . They 
ran races several times on the shore . . . and some of us en- 
deavoured to catch them ; when we had the pleasure to see, that 
Europeans could frequently run better than these savages. West 
(p. 36) says: "They were swift of foot; when they possessed 
dogs, they ran nearly abreast of them . . . and were generally in 
at the death." La Billardi^re also gives an account (IL ch. x. 
pp. 41, 42), showing that the aborigines were not capable of 
continued exertion: "At length we parted with our new guides, 
whose pace was suflSciently slow for us to follow them with ease. 
It seemed as if they were not accustomed to take a long walk 
without interruption ; for we had scarcely been half an hour on 
our way, before they invited us to sit down, saying mkdi^ and we 
immediately stopped. This halt lasted but a few minutes when they 
rose, saying to us tangara^ which signifies, Met us set oflf.* On 
this we resumed our journey ; and they made us halt again, in the 
same manner, four times at nearly equal distances." This weakness 
is corroborated by Davies (p. 415) : "The aborigines are capable 
of great but not of lasting exertion. They cannot stand continued 
fatigue equal to a hearty European." They travelled however 
on occasions with marvellous rapidity, for according to Laplace 
(111. ch. xviii. p. 197) often, several farms [of the settlers], though 
far-separated from each other, are pillaged in one night by the 

* See Chapter on Arithmetic 



Pmvtr of Hands of Van Dtemen*s 'Landers taken with Regniers 

No. of 



Strength in 



l8— 20 



Of a sufficiently strong 
constitution for the 


20— 22 



weak ; stomach big. 





Trunk fairly strong ; lunbs 




Habit of body thin and 
miserable ; stomach dis- 





Fairly well made ; should- 
ers large and strong. 





One of the finest consti- 
tuted individuals of the 





Feeble constitution ; legs 
very weak. 





Cruel face ; very strong 
beard ; much hair on 
his back. 





Savage physiognomy ; 
habit of body sluggish. 




Back little muscular ; 
weak limbs ; stomach 





Savage fece ; thick black 
beard ; much hair on 

Legs and arms very weak. 





Mean 50*6 

same enemies [the aborigines]." Rossel states (II. ch. x. p. 44) : 
"These savages . . . and we walked together along the beach. 
. . . Some trees, that lay on the ground, . . . gave them an 
opportunity of displaying their agility to us by leaping over 
them. But I believe . . . they would have found themselves 
excelled by a European tolerably expert at this exercise." 


Melville remarks (p. 348): "They were naturally very keen- 
sighted, . . . and their sense of hearing and smelling remarkably 
acute, and all the writers who have touched on this subject 


confirm this fact." Captain Bligh (ch. iv. p. 51) says they "had 
a very quick sight." According to Davies (p. 413), "their senses 
of hearing and seeing are particularly acute, and a glance will 
suflSce to tell them when there is an opossum in the tree." In 
the Report of a Parliamentary Committee (Evidence, Colonies and 
Slaves), Mr. O'Connor states (p. 54) they are remarkably keen- 
sighted, and Mr. Hobbs (p. 50) that they smell tobacco smoke 
at a great distance. Backhouse (pp. 103, 104) gives the following 
account of their keenness of vision : " I observed a woman 
looking carefully about among the grass, and inquired what she 
was seeking. Her companions replied, to my surprise, * A needle.* 
... A. Cottrell, who sat by, said, * You will see she will find it : 
you have no idea how keen-sighted and persevering they are ; ' 
and after some time, she picked up her needle, which was one 
of English manufacture, and not of large size I" This great 
acuteness of vision led to their possession of great powers of 
tracking, of which Widowson (ch. xxi. p. 189) speaks thus: "If 
they [the natives] take to cattle, they are, beyond anything, quick 
in tracing and finding those lost. So acute is their power of 
discrimination, that they have been known to trace the footsteps 
of bushrangers over mountains and rocks, and although the 
individual they have been in pursuit of has walked into the sides 
of a river as if to cross it, to elude the vigilance of his pursuers, 
and have swam some distance down and crossed when convenient, 
jet nothing can deceive them. Indeed, so remarkable is their 
discernment, that if but the slightest piece of moss on a rock 
has been disturbed by footsteps, they will instantly detect it." 
According to Calder (Wars, ch. ii. p. 61) Robinson, in hunting 
fugitive tribes, was much assisted in tracking them by friendly 
natives. " When he [Robinson] came on their footmarks at last, 
his people — such was their acute knowledge of these faint imprints 
on the grass, which a European would not discern at all, that 
they at once pronounced them to be those of the Big River and 
Oyster Bay tribes united. * A female,' says he, * assured me they 
were the Big River and Oyster Bay tribes. She knew them by 
their footmarks.' " Calder also says {ibid,)i "We learn from . . . 
Jorgen Jorgensen, that they possessed a faculty for discovering 
water in situations where no European would think of looking 
for it, and that these strange places were their favourite camping 



Mr. Brough Smyth makes the following statement (II. p. 387) : 
** The women were seldom accompanied by many children ; but 
th'ere is no reason to suppose that they were less prolific than 
people of other races." With the latter part of his statement we 
have no cause to dififer in so far, of course, as it relates to the 
aborigines before contact with civilization ; but in support of the 
first part of his statement we can find no evidence. It does not 
follow that because the children are not always mentioned, that 
there were none. In the three interviews narrated below it will be 
seen children predominated over the adults. P6ron states (ch. xii. 
pp. 225-226), ** As soon as they [a family of aborigines] saw us, 
they . . . doubled their pace in order to rejoin us. Their number 
was increased by a young girl of from sixteen to seventeen years of 
age, by another little boy of from four to five years, and by a little 
girl of three to four years. This family was composed therefore of 
nine people, the elders being apparently the father and mother: 
the young man and his wife appeared to us to be at the same time 
* 6poux et frdre ' ; we considered the young girl to be the sister of 
the latter ; the four children must have been those of the young 
man and the young woman." La Billardi^re (II. ch. x. p. 37) 
encountered a party of forty-two savages, ** seven of whom were 
men, eight women, the rest appeared to be their children ; and 
among these we observed several marriageable girls," and further 
on {ibid. p. 54) he says: **We had scarcely gone a mile before 
we found ourselves in the midst of eight-and-forty natives; ten 
men, fourteen women, and twenty-four children, among whom we 
observed as many girls as boys." 




Mr. Anderson, the first man who described these people, was 
not favourably impressed with their intellectual powers, and he 
records his opinion as follows (Cook's Third Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi. 
p. 45): **With respect to personal activity or genius we can say 
but little of either. They do not seem to possess the first in any 
remarkable degree, and for the last, they have, to appearance, 
less than even the inhabitants of Terra del Fuego, who, though 
furnished with the materials, have not invention sufficient to 
make clothing for themselves. . . . Their expressing no surprise 
at seeing men so unlike themselves, their indifference to our 
presents, and their general inattention, were suflficient proofs of 
their not possessing any acuteness of understanding." He con- 
tinues : " The inhabitants had little of that fierce or wild 
appearance common to people in their situation; but seemed 
mild and cheerful, without reserve or jealousy of strangers." But 
some of the settlers looked upon them as little better than wild 
animals. Thus Lloyd (ch. iv. p. 43) says : ** Their moral and 
intellectual energies were of the most inferior order." Prinsep 
says much the same (p. 79) : " They are undoubtedly in the 
lowest possible scale of human nature, both in form and intellect," 
and Wentworth is equally emphatic (p. 115) in a like opinion: 
" The aborigines of this country are, if possible, still more 
barbarous and uncivilized than those of New Holland." 

Captain Dumoutier, who had, however, little opportunity for 
observation, says of them (ch. xii. p. 217): "The Tasmanians, 
among whom the human form is most degraded, must be placed 
nearly at the bottom step of the ladder in the human race. One 
can say that there is not a trace of any civilization. They are 
groups of savage men, living almost like animals, unless contact 
with Europeans has exerted any influence upon them;" while 
JefTreys (pp. 118 and 126) only allows that they were less barbarous 
than the natives of New Holland. Breton, on the other hand. 


thinks the latter superior (pp. 348-349) : " They are very different 
to the New Hollanders, and, if possible, even more barbarous, 
approaching nearer to the * mere animal * than the former . . . 
From whatever part of the world they may have come, these 
people must have deteriorated, as a nation so utterly savage can 
scarcely be found elsewhere." Dixon says (p. 22): "They were 
sunk in the grossest barbarism, and apparently had not made one 
move in the progress of civilization ;" but he immediately afterwards 
qualifies his opinion by stating on the following page : ** They have 
been designated as the lowest order of human beings, removed 
but one shade from brutality ; but I think unjustly, . . . their 
routine of life was so simple, and required so little ingenuity to 
maintain it, that their exhibiting any intellectual vivacity at all 
argued the possession of a considerable amount of latent capacity." 
In like manner Calder, Dove and Ross (?) state that the aboriginal 
native was much maligned, and that he was by no means the low 
animal he was said to be. Calder's words are (Joum. p. 19) : " It 
has been customary to rank the Tasmanian savages with the most 
degraded of the human family, and as possessed of inferior intel- 
ligence only. But facts quite disprove this idea, and show that 
they were naturally very intellectual, highly susceptible of culture, 
and, above all, most desirous of receiving instruction, which is 
fatal to the dogma of their incapacity for civilization . . . His 
ingenuity was seldom brought into exercise. His faculties were 
dormant from the mere bounty of providence. His wants were 
few, . . . and the country supplied them all in lavish abundance." 
Calder, however, appears to be somewhat partial, for Tasmania 
is by no means what can be designated a fertile country where 
nature is lavish in abundance, and his opinion expressed else- 
where (Wars, pp. 54-55) is perhaps more to the point: "An idea 
prevailed which has not yet died out, that they stood almost on 
a level with the brutes of the forest. . . . This was not the case, 
for they were naturally an intellectual race, with faculties suscep- 
tible of very easy culture, as they showed when in their wild 
state, by the clever manner in which (after a brief association 
with, firstly, the half-civilized Musquito,* and, secondly, with 
some other domesticated blacks) they planned all their operations 
against the settlers, in which they seldom failed of success ; and 
by the facility with which, when in captivity, and under good 
guidance, they received instruction, and accommodated them- 

' A ruffian quasi-civilized native of New South Wales, 


selves to European habits." Mr. Dove, who had charge of them 
at the settlement, and therefore ample opportunity for observation, 
remarks (I. p. 249): "The aborigines of Tasmania have been 
usually regarded as exhibiting the human character in the lowest 
state of degradation. ... If we look, however, to the methods 
they devised of procuring shelter and subsistence in their native 
wilds ; to the skill and precision with which they tracked the mazes 
of the bush ; and to the force of invention and of memory which 
is displayed in the copious vocabulary of their several languages, 
they claim no inconsiderable share of mental power and activity." 
Finally an anonymous writer {? Ross) in the Van Diemen's Land 
Annual for 1834 (pp. 77-78) says: "Although low in the scale 
of human beings, sufficient had been presented by the occasional 
intercourse between themselves and the Europeans to arrive at 
the conclusion that the nature of their intellectual powers was 
by no means questionable. They have frequently shown them- 
selves endowed with great quickness of perception, or an acuteness 
in the senses, not unusually bestowed by Providence ... to 
supply other deficiencies." West's opinion of them was (11. p. 88), 
** Their intellectual character is low ; yet not so inferior as often 
described. They appeared stupid, when addressed on subjects 
which had no relation to their mode of life ; but they were quick 
and cunning within their own sphere. Their locomotion sharpened 
their powers of observation, without much increasing their ideas." 
Backhouse's opinion was very similar (pp. 173-174), "After having 
seen something of the natives of Van Diemen's Land, the convic- 
tion was forced upon my mind, that they exceeded Europeans in 
skill, in those things to which their attention had been directed 
from childhood." Melville (p. 348) bears witness to a like eflfect : 
" They occasionally afforded sufficient proof that their intellectual 
powers were of no mean order." 

We are however indebted to two eminent Frenchmen for the 
fullest details which throw light on the intelligence or of the want 
of it in these natives. MM. La Billardi^re and P6ron who visited 
the island within ten years of each other (1792 and 1803 re- 
spectively) have left such minute records of their intercourse with 
the aborigines of Tasmania before the days of settlement that we 
cannot do better than reproduce their accounts as fully as space 
permits of. Commencing with La Billadi^re, the first explorer, 
we find his companions had some difficulty in opening com- 
munication, as on their approach the natives fled away with 
precipitation (L ch. v. pp. 181-21 1). At last, "Two of the 


officers of our vessel . . . determined to land. . . . They found 
four savages employed in laying fuel upon three small fires. . . . 
The savages immediately fled, notwithstanding all the signs of 
amity which they made them. . . . One of these savages . . . 
having left behind him a small basket . . . was bold enough 
to come quite near to Cr6tin [one of the officers] in order to fetch 
it, with a look of assurance with which his bodily strength seemed 
to inspire him" (I. ch. v. pp. 221-222). Then when a boat landed, 
**the natives, who, notwithstanding all the signs of amity they 
made them, would not let them come within two hundred paces 
distance of him *' {ibid, ch. v. p. 223). Similar results were recorded 
the following day (ch. v. p. 225). Finally we are told (ch. v. 
pp. 233-234), "One of the officers . . . met six of them [natives] 
walking slowly towards the south. . . . Their surprise at so 
unexpected an encounter was visible in their countenances ; but 
their numbers inspiring them with courage, they approached at 
the invitation of the European, and bound round their heads a 
handkerchief and neck-cloth which he offered them. They, 
however, appeared terrified at the sight of his hanger, which he 
showed them how to use ; nor were their fears quieted till he made 
them a present of it. He endeavoured in vain to persuade them 
to come to the place where our ships lay at anchor : the savages 
walked away ... in a direction . . . opposite to that which led 
to the shore. Some of our men, having landed on the other side 
of the strait, came to a large fire round which eight savages . . • 
sat warming themselves. . . . They immediately ran away as 
soon as they saw our people. An old woman, who had the care 
of their provisions, which she did not choose to leave behind her, 
was soon overtaken by some of the sailors. She accepted with 
an air of satisfaction a handkerchief which was given her, but was 
so terrified at the sight of a hanger, which they presented to her, 
that she leapt down a precipice more than forty [sic] feet in height, 
and ran away amongst the rocks, where they soon lost sight of 
her." After this "they discovered a number of the savages 
landing from a raft. As timid as those we had seen before, they 
had hastened with all possible speed to the land, where they made 
their escape into the woods" (ch. v. p. 230). It was however not 
until their second visit that the Frenchmen succeeded in obtaining 
interviews with the natives. La Billardi^re then relates (II. ch. x. 
pp. 32-66), ** We advanced a few steps, when a sudden cry, arising 
from several voices united, issued from one spot, and we perceived 
through the trees a number of natives, most of whom appeared to 


be fishing on the borders of the lake. . . . We had gone only a 
few steps before we met them. The men and youths were ranged 
in front, nearly in a semicircle; the women, girls and children 
were a few paces behind. As their manner did not appear to 
indicate any hostile design, I hesitated not to go up to the oldest, 
who accepted, with a very good grace, a piece of biscuit I oflfered 
him, of which he had seen me eat. I then held out my hand to 
him as a sign of friendship, and had the pleasure to perceive, that 
he comprehended my meaning very well ; he gave me his, inclining 
himself a little. These motions were accompanied by a pleasing 
smile. My companions also advanced up to the others, imme- 
diately the best understanding prevailed among us. They received 
with great joy the neck-cloths which we offered them : the young 
people approached nearer us ; and one of them had the generosity 
to give me a few small shells of the whelk kind, pierced near the 
middle and strung like a necklace. . . . This ornament was the 
only one he possessed. ... A handkerchief supplied the place 
of this present, gratifying the utmost wishes of my savage, who 
advanced to^^ards me, that I might tie it round his head for him, 
and who expressed the greatest joy, as he lifted his hand up to feel 
it again and again. . . . The women were very desirous of 
coming nearer to us; and though the men made signs to them, 
to keep at a distance, their curiosity was ready every moment to 
break through all other considerations. The gradual increase of 
confidence, however, that took place, obtained for them permission 
to approach. ... A pole-axe which we used for cutting off some 
branches from the trees excited the admiration of these people. 
As they perceived us willing to give them anything in our 
possession, they did not scruple to beg it ; and when we granted 
their request, they were overcome with joy. They were fully 
sensible also of the value of our knives, and received a flew tin 
vessels with pleasure. When I showed them my watch, it attracted 
their desire, and one of them, in particular, expressed his wish 
to possess it : but he quickly desisted from his request, when he 
found I was not willing to part with it. The readiness with which 
we gave them our things led them, no doubt, to presume that they 
might take anything belonging to us, without asking for it : this 
obliged us to set bounds to their desires ; but we found that they 
returned to us, without the least resistance, such things as we 
could not dispense with for our own use. ... I wished to get a 
kangaroo skin ; among the savages about us there happened to be 
only a young girl who had one. When I proposed to her, to give 



it me in exchange for a pair of pantaloons, she ran away to hide 
herself in the woods. The other natives appeared truly hurt at her 
refusal, and called to her several times. At length she yielded 
to their enti*eaties, and came to bring me the skin. . . . She 
received a pair of pantaloons. . . . We showed her the manner 
of wearing them ; but notwithstanding, it was necessary for us 
to put them on for her ourselves. To this she yielded with the 
best grace in the world, resting both her hands on our shoulders, 
to support herself, while she lifted up first one leg, then the other, 
to put them into this new garment. ... We invited them all to 
come and sit near our fire, and when they arrived there, one 
of the savages informed us by unequivocal signs, that he had come 
to reconnoitre us during the night. That we might understand 
he had seen us asleep, he inclined his head on one side, laying 
it on the palm of his right hand, and closing his eyes, and with 
the other, he pointed out the spot where we had passed the night. 
He then acquainted us, by signs equally expressive, that he was at 
the time on the other side of the brook, whence he observed us. 
. . . We were desirous of showing these savages the effect of 
our firearms. . . . They appeared to be a little frightened at their 

He continues, "I had not perceived the young girl for some 
time, but happening to look behind me, I saw, with surprise, seven 
[women] who had perched themselves on a stout limb of a tree, 
whence they attentively watched our slightest movements. As 
they all squatted on the bough they formed a pleasing group." 
Some of the savages accompanied La Billardidre to the coast, and 
he says: "They no doubt conceived it to be our intention to return 
to Port D*Entrecasteaux, for we were twice mistaken in the road, and 
they both times pointed out to us that which led directly to it. . . . 
We hoped to be able to prevail on some of them to go on board 
with us ; but they were already leaving us to rejoin their families. 
At our invitation, however, they deferred their departure. As soon 
as the boat came, we invited some of them to go on board. After 
taking a long while to resolve on it, three of them consented to get 
into the boat ; but they got out again in great haste as we prepared 
to push off from the shore. We then saw them walk quietly along 
by the sea, looking towards us from time to time, and uttering cries 
of joy. The next day we returned in a large party. Some of the 
natives soon came to meet us, expressing by their cries the pleasure 
they felt at seeing us again. A lively joy was depicted on all their 
features when they saw us drawing near. The pains taken by one 


of the mothers to quiet her infant, yet at the breast, who cried at 
sight of us, appeared to us very engaging. She could not pacify 
him till she covered his eyes with her hand, that he might not see 
us. None of these people appeared with arms, but probably they 
had left them in the wood near ; for several of us having expressed 
an intention of going into it, one of the savages urgently entreated 
them not to go that way. Part of the crew, however, walked a 
little way along the shore that they might enter the wood un- 
observed by him ; but no sooner did one of the women perceive 
their design, than she uttered horrible cries, to give notice to the 
other savages, who entreated them to return towards the sea. Their 
confidence in us was so great, that one of the women, who was 
suckling a child, was not afraid to entrust it to several of us. When 
we departed for Port D'Entrecasteaux, more than half these peace- 
ful natives rose to accompany us. Four young girls were also of 
the party, and who received with indifference the garments we gave 
them, and immediately hung them on the bushes near the path, 
intending, no doubt to take them with them on their return. As a 
proof they did not set much value on such presents, we did not see 
on any of them one of the garments which we had given them the 
day before. All of them were of very cheerful disposition. No 
doubt we lost much by not understanding the language of these 
natives, for one of the girls said a great deal to us ; she talked a 
long while with extraordinary volubility, though she must have per- 
ceived that we could not comprehend her meaning ; no matter, she 
must talk. One of the young girls having perceived at a distance 
a head, which the gunner of the *Esperance' had carved on the 
stump of a tree, appeared at first extremely surprised, and stopped 
short for a moment. She then went up to it with us, and after 
having considered it attentively, named to us the different parts, 
pointing them out at the same time with her hand. . . . 

" The next day a great number of us landed near Port D'Entre- 
casteaux to endeavour to see the savages again. It was not long 
before some of them came to meet us, giving us tokens of the 
greatest confidence. They first examined, with great attention, 
the insides of our boats, and then they took us by the arm, and 
invited us to follow them along the shore. We had scarcely gone 
a mile before we found ourselves in the midst of eight-and-forty 
of the natives. The little children were very desirous of every- 
thing shiny, and were not afraid to come up to us, to endeavour to 
pull off our buttons. Their mothers, less curious with respect to 
their own dress than that of their children, held them up to us, 


that we might decorate them with the ornaments which we had 
intended for themselves. I ought not to omit a waggish trick 
which a young savage played one of our people. The sailor had 
laid down a bag of shell fish at the foot of a rock : the youth sliiy 
removed it to another place ; and let him search a long while for 
it in vain ; at length he replaced it where the sailor had placed it, 
and was highly diverted at the trick he had played him. This 
numerous party was transported with admiration, when they saw 
the effects of gunpowder thrown on the burning coals. They all 
entreated us to let them have the pleasure of seeing it several 
times. Not being able to persuade themselves that we had none 
but men among us, they long believed, notwithstanding all we 
could say, that the youngest of us were women. Their curiosity 
on this head carried them further than we should have expected, 
for they were not to be convinced till they had assured themselves 
of the fact. When we re-embarked these good people followed us 
with their eyes for some time, before they left the shore, and then 
they disappeared in the wood. Their way brought them at times 
to the shore again, of which we were immediately informed by 
the cries of joy with which they made the air resound. These 
testimonies of pleasure did not cease till we lost sight of them. 
. . . We saw with pleasure, that the savages, who, at our last 
interview [the day before] had promised to come near our 
anchoring place within two days, had kept their word. We 
perceived a fire not far from our watering place. A great number 
of us repaired immediately to the place of rendezvous. They 
soon quitted their fire in order to come still nearer to us. We 
went to meet them; and when we were near th^m, they stopped, 
appearing well pleased at seeing us come ashore. Being invited 
by some of our crew to dance in a ring with them, (they) imitated 
all their movements tolerably well. We made them presents of 
a great number of things, which they let us hang round their 
necks with strings, and soon they were almost covered with them, 
apparently to their great satisfaction; but they gave us nothing, 
for they had brought nothing with them. A native, to whom we 
had just given a hatchet, displayed great dexterity at striking 
several times following in the same place, thus attempting to 
imitate one of our sailors, who had cut down a tree. We showed 
him that he must strike in different places, so as to cut a notch, 
which he did immediately, and was transported with joy when the 
tree was felled by his strokes. They were astonished at the 
quickness with which we sawed the trunk in two; and we made 



ii W 

^ * %I 


them a present of some hand-saws, which they used with great 
readiness, as soon as we had shown them the way. These savages 
were much surprised at seeing us kindle the spongy bark of the 
Eucalyptus resinifera in the focus of a burning-glass. He, who 
appeared the most intelligent among them, was desirous of trying 
the effects of the lens himself, threw the converging rays of the sun 
upon his thigh by its means ; but the pain he felt took from him 
all inclination to repeat the experiment. We let one of the 
natives see our ships through a good perspective glass, and he 
soon yielded to our solicitations to go on board the * Recherche.* 
He went up the side with an air of confidence, and examined the 
inside of the ship with much attention. His looks were then 
directed chiefly to such objects as might serve for food. Led by 
the similitude in shape between two black swans on Cape Diemen 
and the geese of Guinea, which he saw on board, he asked for 
one, giving us to understand it was to eat. When he came 
opposite our hen-coops, he appeared struck with the beauty of 
a very large cock, which was presented to him ; and on receiving 
it, he let us know that he would lose no time in broiling and 
eating it. After having remained on board more than half an 
hour, and been loaded with presents, he desired to return, and was 
immediately carried ashore. We had taken an ape on shore with 
us, which afforded much amusement to the savages ; and one of 
the crew took a goat with him, which formed a subject of con- 
versation for them a long time, and to which they occasionally 
spoke, saying, medi (sit down). They have given particular names 
to every vegetable. We assured ourselves, that their botanical 
knowledge was unequivocal, by asking several of them, at different 
times, the names of the same plants. The rest, before they went 
away, gave us to understand, that the next day their families would 
be at the place where we were ; but they appeared to apprehend 
our meaning when we acquainted them that we should sail the 
same day, and seemed to be much grieved at it." 

At other meetings {ihid, ch. xi. pp. 72-75) ** from time to time, 
they answered with shouts of joy the shouts of our sailors. . . . 
When we were but a little way from the beach, they advanced 
towards us without arms, their smiling countenances leaving us no 
room to doubt that our visit gave them pleasure. Their joy was 
expressed by loud bursts of laughter, while their countenances 
showed that they were well pleased to see us. These savages 
expressed much thankfulness when we gave them a few small 
pieces of stuffs of different colours, glass beads, a hatchet, and 


some other articles of hardware. Several other savages came oat 
of the wood and approached us. An officer imagined that he 
should not frighten them by letting them see the effects of our 
firearms ; but they were alarmed at the report of the gun, imme- 
diately rose, and would not sit down again. . . . We expressed 
our wishes to see them [the wives and children] join us ; 
the savages informed us that we should find them, after walking 
some time across the wood, in a path which they immediately 
took, inviting us to follow them. This we did; but it was not 
long before they expressed their desire to see us return towards our 
ships, and parted from us, frequently looking back to watch our 
motions. On my pronouncing the word quangloa, however, which 
signifies, will you come, they stopped, and I went up to them, with 
an officer of the * Recherche.' They continued to lead us along 
the same path. In this way we walked on for a quarter of an hour, 
holding them by the arm, when on a sudden they quickened their 
pace, so that it was not easy for us to follow them farther. It 
appeared to us that they wished we should leave them, for some of 
them would not allow us to hold them by the arm any longer, and 
walked by themselves, at some distance from us. One of our crew, 
desirous of rejoining one of the fugitives, ran after him, bawling ; 
this alarmed all the rest, who immediately hastened away and kept 
at a considerable distance from us. No doubt they were desirous 
to reach the place where they had deposited their weapons ; for 
they struck out of the path a little, and presently we saw them 
with three or four spears each, which they carried away. They 
then invited us to follow them, but we were not willing to go any 

P^ron's account now follows. In looking in the direction from 
which cries had proceeded, "we perceived two savages, who ran 
along the shore, both making great gestures of surprise and 
admiration. . . . We answered by some cries, and tried to ap- 
proach the bank ; but instead of waiting for us, they dived into 
the forest and disappeared. In continuing our journey, we arrived 
at a small creek, at the end of which there was a pretty valley. 
We, had hardly set foot ashore before two aborigines showed 
themselves at the top of a hillock. At the signs of friendship 
we made them, one of them threw himself, rather than descended 
from the rock. His physiognomy had nothing wild or harsh about 
it, his air expressed at once goodwill and surprise. That which 
seemed to strike him was the whiteness of our skin : wishing, no 
doubt, to assure himself that this colour was the same on the 


whole of the body, he opened successively our waistcoats and 
shirts; and his astonishment manifested itself by great cries of 
surprise, and, above all, by extremely rapid stampings of the foot. 
Our long boat, however, appeared to occupy him even more than 
our persons ; and after having examined us for some moments, he 
jumped into this vessel. There, without in the least troubling 
himself about the presence of the sailors, he appeared as if 
absorbed in his new examination; the thickness of the ribs and 
timbers, the solidity of its construction, its rudder, its oars, its 
masts, its sails ; he observed everything with that silence and deep 
attention which are the least doubtful signs of interest and pro- 
found admiration. Just then, one of the oarsmen wishing, doubt- 
less, to add to his surprise, gave him a glass bottle full of arrack, 
which formed part of the rations of the crew. The lustre of the 
glass made the savage utter a cry of astonishment, he took the 
bottle and examined it for a few moments ; but his curiosity was 
soon brought back to the boat, he threw the bottle into the sea, 
and then returned to his former examination. Neither the cries of 
the sailor for the loss of his bottle of arrack, nor the haste of one 
of his comrades to jump into the water to save it, appeared to 
affect him. He attempted several times to push out the long boat ; 
but the cable which held it fast rendering his efforts useless, he 
was forced to abandon them, and to return to us, after having 
given us the most striking example we had ever seen of attention 
and reflection among savage peoples. Arrived at the top of the 
hillock, we found the second aborigine ; he was an old man, about 
fifty years of age ; his physiognomy, like that of the young man, 
was open and frank ; and despite some undoubted signs of agita- 
tion and fear, one could easily distinguish candour and good 
nature. This old man, having examined us both with as much 
surprise and satisfaction as the first one, and having verified, as he 
did, the colour of our chests by opening our waistcoats and shirts, 
he made a sign to two women, who held off, to approach ; they 
hesitated for a few moments, after which the elder one came to 
us, followed by the younger more timid and troubled one. The 
former appeared, like the old man, good and well disposed. The 
young woman had an interesting physiognomy. Her eyes had 
expression and something spirituel [in them] which surprised us, 
and which we have never found since in any other woman of her 
nation;' she appeared, moreover, to dearly love her child [a girl], 

' Judging from the extravagant way in which this girl is spoken of, it appears 
probable that the susceptible naturalist was much smitten with her charms. 


and her care for it had that affectionate and sweet character which 
is the particular attribute of maternal tenderness. At this juncture 
the young woman had a surprise. One of our sailors had a pair of 
fur gloves which he took off and put in his pocket on nearing the 
fire. On seeing this the young woman uttered so loud a cry that 
at first we were alarmed ; but we were not slow to understand the 
cause of this species of fright, and by her expressions and gestures 
we could not doubt but that she had taken the gloves for real 
hands, or for a species of live skin, which could be taken off, put 
in one's pocket, and put on again as one pleased" (ch. xii. pp. 

Then, P6ron continues, "The young girl made herself more 
remarked every moment by the sweetness of her physiognomy and 
the equally amiable and spirituel expression of her looks ; of a con- 
stitution much feebler than her brother and sister, she was more 
lively and passionate than they. M. Freycinet, who sat beside her, 
appeared to be more especially the object of her enticing ways, 
and the least experienced eye could have distinguished in the looks 
of this innocent pupil of nature that delicate shade which gives to 
simple playfulness a more serious and deliberate character. Even 
coquetry itself appeared to have been called to the aid of natural 
attractions. Having taken some charcoal in her hands, she in a 
moment made herself black enough to frighten one : what seemed 
most singular to us was the complacency with which this young 
girl appeared to regard us after this operation, and the confident air 
which this new ornament had spread over her face. While this 
was going on, the little children were imitating the grimaces and 
gestures of their parents, and nothing was more curious than to see 
these little negroes stamping their feet for joy at hearing our 
songs; they had unconsciously familiarized themselves with us, 
and towards the end of the interview, they made use of our notice 
as freely as if they had known us for a long time. Every little 
present we gave them filled them with pleasure, and redoubled 
their regard for us; altogether they appeared to us lively, frolic- 
some and mischievous. Ouri-Ouri had a rush bag of an elegant 
and peculiar construction, which I very much desired to have, as 
this young girl also showed me some very amiable attentions. I 
ventured to ask her for her little bag ; she immediately, without 
hesitation, put it into my hands, accompanying the gift with an 
obliging smile and some affectionate [sic] phrases, which 1 re- 
gretted to be unable to understand. In return, I offered her a 
handkerchief and a tomahawk, the use of which I showed her 


brother, and which was a cause of astonishment and exclamation 
to the whole family. As night was approaching, we prepared to 
re-join our long boat ; the old mother and the young woman with 
her children, except the biggest, remained in the hut ; the others 
came with us ; the path along which we walked bristled with shrubs 
and briars ; our poor savages, being quite naked, seemed to have 
much to suffer from the scratches they received ; we pitied Ouri- 
Ouri^ but without appearing to perceive the numerous scratches 
which covered her thighs and stomach, she walked bravely in the 
middle of these thick brakes, chatting to M. Freycinet, without 
hope of making herself understood, getting angry at not being so, 
and at not being able to understand herself, accompanying her 
talk with enticing gestures and gracious smiles, which coquetry 
could not have rendered more expressive. In approaching our 
place of landing, we heard several musket shots, which caused 
great fright to our good companions, poor Ouri-Ouriy above all, 
was honibly afraid ; her fears soon increased at the aspect of a 
numerous troop of our companions from the * Naturaliste ' who 
came to meet us. After telling them of the good reception we had 
met with at the hands of the aborigines, they hastened to load 
them with various presents ; but nothing produced such a good 
effect as a long red feather which M. Breton gave to the young 
OuTi'OuH\ she jumped for joy, she called her father and brother, 
she cried, she laughed, in a word she seemed intoxicated with 
pleasure and happiness. At last we boarded our two long boats. 
The good Van Diemen's Landers did not leave us for an instant, and 
when we pushed out, their sorrow showed itself in a most touching 
manner: they made signs for us to come and see them again; 
and as if to indicate the place to us, they lit a large fire on the little 
hillock of which I have spoken, and it seems they even passed the 
night there, for we saw a fire there until dawn. Thus ended our 
first interview with the inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land. All 
the details I have described are given with the most rigorous 
exactitude. The sweet confidence which the inhabitants had in 
us ; the affectionate proof of good will which they lavished upon 
us, the sincerity of their demonstrations, the frankness of their 
manners, and the touching ingenuousness of their caresses, all 
concurred in developing in us feelings of most tender interest" 
{ibid. ch. xii. pp. 227-231). 

Later on he says : "On my return, I found that the little yawl 
of the *G6ographe,' having gone to fish on Bruny Island, the 
aborigines had appeared in large numbers, and that, loaded with 


presents by our companions, they had passed the greater part of 
the day amongst them (ch. ii. p. 235). Early in the morning of 
the 31st of January, I landed on Bruny Island. I had already 
proceeded out of sight of the landing place, when, having 
rounded a big point, I perceived about twenty savages who were 
approaching me along the shore : I did not hesitate to retrace my 
steps, and in thus withdrawing met MM. Heirisson and Bellefin. 
They oflfered to return with me to the savages in order to open 
communications with them. We were already close to the troop, 
when, suddenly, it entered the forest and disappeared; without, 
attempting to pursue the aborigines, which their agility would 
have rendered quite useless, we contented ourselves in calling 
them, showing them different objects, and, above all, in waving 
our handkerchiefs. At these signs of friendship the troop hesitated 
a moment, then stopped and decided to await us. We then dis- 
covered we had to do with women ; there was not a single male 
amongst them. We were preparing to join them, when one of the 
oldest, separating herself from her companions, made a sign to us 
to stop and sit down by calling out loudly, ntidi'inidi (sit down, 
sit down) ; she seemed also to beg us to lay aside our weapons, 
the sight of which frightened them. These preliminary conditions 
having been fulfilled, the women squatted on their heels, and from 
that moment appeared to abandon themselves without reserve to 
the liveliness of their dispositions, all speaking at once, all 
questioning us at the same time, appearing often to criticize 
us and to be laughing at our expense ; making, in a word, a 
thousand gestures and contortions as singular as they were varied. 
M. Bellefin began to sing, and accompanied himself with lively 
and animated gestures ; the women were immediately silent, 
observing his gestures with as much attention as they seemed to 
give to his songs. As soon as a couplet was finished, some 
applauded by loud shouts, others laughed to splitting, while the 
younger, and no doubt more timid girls, remained silent, showing 
nevertheless, by their actions and the expression of their faces, 
their surprise and their satisfaction. Two or three young girls, 
of from 15 to 16 years of age, had in the expression of their 
countenances something most artless, aflfectionate, and sweet, as if 
the better qualities of the soul must exist, even in the midst of the 
savage tribe of the human race, as the especial appanage of youth. 
Amongst the elder women, some had a coarse and ignoble face ; 
others, fewer in number, a wild and sullen look ; but, in all, one 
observed that air of uneasiness and dejection which misfortune and 


servitude imprint on the forehead of every being who bears the 
yoke. One only had, among all her companions, preserved great 
confidence, with much cheerfulness and gaiety. After M. Bellefin 
had finished his song, she began to imitate his gestures and his 
tone of voice in a very original and funny way, which greatly 
amused her companions. The deference we showed these women, 
and perhaps also the fresh charms which we owed to their cares,* 
seemed to increase their goodwill and their confidence in us ; but 
nothing, however, could decide them to approach any nearer. At 
the least movement which we made, or seemed to make, to break 
the conditions imposed, they all jumped up in a hurry, and took to 
flight : in order, therefore, to enjoy their presence longer, we were 
obliged to conform entirely to their wishes. After having loaded 
them with presents and caresses [«!:] we judged it time to return 
to the landing place ; and our Van Diemen's Landers, appearing 
to be about to go in the same direction, the two troops started ; 
but we were still obliged to give in to these inexorable women, 
and were condemned to walk along the flat shore, while they 
marched over the parallel sand-hills. Our route all the time was 
not less lively than our interview ; and from the top of the sand- 
hills many pleasantries and enticements were sent to us, to which 
we endeavoured to respond as expressively as was possible. All 
at once, one of the women uttered a loud cry, which the others 
repeated with fright : they had discovered our small vessel and our 
companions. We tried to calm their fears ; it was all useless, and 
the troop was already plunging into the forest, when the woman, 
who almost alone had borne the responsibility of our interview, 
appeared to alter her mind. At her voice there was a movement 
of hesitation ; she spoke for a moment or two to the others ; but 
being, as it seemed to us, unable to persuade them to follow her, 
she descended alone from the sand-hills, and walking along the 
shore at some distance in front of us, with much assurance, and 
even with a kind of pride, she seemed to defy the timidity of her 
companions. The latter, in their turn, appeared ashamed of their 
weakness ; little by little they became bolder, and decided at last 
to return to the shore. It was therefore with this numerous and 
singular escort that we arrived at our ships, near to which, by 
a chance difiicult to foresee, all the husbands of these poor women 
had been assembled for some minutes. In spite of the most 
unequivocal proofs of the goodwill and generosity of our fellow- 

* These women blackened the faces of their visitors. 


countrymen, they still preserved a disturbed and sullen expression ; 
their looks, were wild and threatening ; and in their whole attitude 
one distinguished an air of constraint, and malevolence, and 
treachery, which they in vain sought to hide; it seemed as 
though they were mortified at the failure of their various attacks,* 
while at the same time they dreaded our vengeance. A few days 
later I had the pleasure of meeting the same woman who has so 
often been mentioned. I then learnt that her name was Arrd- 
Afd'idd, M. Petit drew her portrait ; therein will be noted that 
character of assurance and dignity which so eminently dis- 
tinguished this woman among all her companions" (ch. ii. pp. 

During another excursion, says P6ron, " on approaching the bank, 
we found a very great fire. Round about it, as if strewn by chance, 
were nearly all the objects which we had given to the aborigines, or 
which they had stolen from us even at the peril of their lives. We 
had previously found several other things, spread here and there in 
the woods, and we were convinced that, having satisfied a childish 
curiosity, these ignorant men, as if embarrassed by our favours, 
abandoned the object as soon as it ceased to please or amuse 
them" (ch. xii. p. 257). Still later P^ron's party met, on the south 
side of Oyster Bay, fourteen aborigines collected round the fire, 
[who] received it with transports, expressive at once of surprise, 
admiration, and pleasure. '* ^ Afedt'-medt* (sit down, sit down) were 
the first words they spoke to us. We sat down: they grouped 
themselves around us. The arms laid aside, we regarded each 
other mutually for some moments. We were so novel each to the 
other! The aborigines wished to examine our calves and our 
chests ; we allowed them to do this as much as they desired, and 
cries, often repeated, were the expression of the surprise which 
the whiteness of the skin seemed to excite in them. They soon 
wished to carry their examination further still : perhaps doubting 
whether we were constituted like them, or wishing to assure them- 
selves with regard to our sex; perceiving, however, our extreme 
repugnance to such an examination, they only insisted with regard 
to one of our sailors, who, on account of his youth, seemed better 
able to verify their conjectures or to dissipate their doubts. At 
my request, this young man decided to give them this satisfaction, 
and the savages appeared quite satisfied ; but hardly had they 

* The savages had on several occasions thrown spears at P^ron*s party, they 
themselves being bidden in the forest. 


recognized that we were constituted like themselves, than they 
began to shout so loudly together for astonishment and joy, that 
we were stunned. After thus devoting some moments to the 
examination of each other, M. Petit did some jugglery tricks 
which greatly diverted them, and drew from them the most bizarre 
demonstrations of pleasure and enthusiasm ; but nothing surprised 
them more than to see M. Rouget stick a pin into the calf of his 
leg without showing the slightest pain, and without drawing a 
single drop of blood. At this wonder, they looked at each other 
in silence, and then, all together, they began to howl like madmen. 
Unfortunately for me, there were some pins among our presents, 
which they had begged of us. One of the men, wishing no doubt 
to ascertain whether I shared this insensibility which they had just 
admired, approached me without saying anything, and gave me 
such a dig in the leg with a pin that I could not restrain myself 
from uttering a cry of pain, all the sharper from the greatness of my 
surprise. [He then says he obtained the native words for several 
actions, but he does not state what the native words are.] 
Generally, they appeared to me to have much intelligence; they 
grasped my gestures with ease; from the very first instant they 
seemed to perfectly understand their object ; they willingly 
repeated words which I had not been able to seize at first, and 
often laughed to splitting, when, wishing to repeat them, I made 
mistakes, or pronounced them badly. I must not here omit to 
mention an interesting observation which I then made: it was 
that they had no idea of the action of embracing. [He tried 
to make them understand by practical demonstrations what an 
embrace is, but as their sole response was *^ Nidegd*^ (I do not 
understand), he concluded that kissing and embracing were 
miknown to these people.] While M. Petit and I were thus 
engaged in our investigations, we suddenly heard loud cries in 
the forest. At these cries the savages rose precipitately, seized 
their weapons, and looked towards the sea with an expression of 
surprise and fierceness. They seemed very agitated when we 
perceived a small boat from our ships running along the coast 
at a little distance off. I do not doubt that this was the cause of 
their alarm, and that it was signalled from various points by some 
sort of sentinels, perhaps by their women. Soon, fresh cries were 
heard, and as they no doubt indicated that the boat was receding 
from the shore, the aborigines appeared to calm down a little." 
[He relates that he managed to pacify them so far as to get them 
to lay down their weapons, but neither he nor M. Petit could 


continue their drawings and observations, because the aborigines 
had become so restless and distracted.] (ch. xiii. pp. 278-283). 

Reviewing the general condition of the Tasmanian aborigines, 
P6ron says (ch. xx. sec. i. p. 448) : " Without any form of regular 
government, without any special arts, without any idea of agri- 
culture, of the use of metals, or the domestication of animals, 
without clothing, without any fixed habitation or retreat other 
than a miserable break-wind of bark, without any other weapons 
than the spear or club, always wandering, the inhabitant of these 
regions unites without doubt all the characteristics of a non-social 
man ; he is, par excellence^ the child of nature, differing how much 
though, both morally and physically, from the seductive pictures 
created for him by imagination and enthusiasm." 

We have seen above that P^ron spoke of the affection one of the 
women manifested for her offspring, and in the Van Diemen*s 
Land Annual for 1834 (p. 78), it is stated, "They are extremely 
fond of their children, and treat their women kindly." Backhouse 
relates (p. 83) that a sealer came and took away a child that 
he had had by a native woman, now married to a man of her 
nation ; its mother was greatly distressed at parting with it," and 
continues (p. 147), " When walking with J. Bateman in the 
garden, he pointed out the grave of a child of one of the blacks 
that died at his house. When it expired, the mother and other 
native women made great lamentation, and the morning after it 
was buried, happening to walk round his garden before sunrise, he 
found its mother weeping over its grave ; yet it is asserted by some 
that these people are without natural affection." West describes 
the following incidents (II. p. 80): "It was noon: the mother, 
her infant, a little boy, had been without food all day ; the father 
refused any part of that he had provided. Another of the tribe was 
more generous : when he handed the woman a portion, before she 
tasted any herself, she fed her child. . . . They were sensible of 
domestic aflfections: the tribes were scattered by the last war, 
some were captives, others fugitives, eleven were already lodged 
at Richmond, when Mr. Gilbert Robertson brought up two others, 
a man and woman ; they were recognized from afar by the party 
first taken; these raised the cry of welcome; it was a family 
meeting, and deeply moved the spectators. The parents embraced 
their children with rapture and many tears." Nor was their 
affection limited to their domestic circle, for West (II. p. 21) tells 
us : " Nor were they indifferent to the charms of a native land. A 
visitor inquired of a native woman at Flinders whether she pre- 


ferred that place to several others mentioned, where she had lived 
at times, and she answered with indifference; but when, to test 
her attachment to early haunts, the querist said, * and not Ring^ 
arooma ?* she exclaimed with touching animation, * Oh yes ! Ring- 
arooma I Ringarooma 1 * A chief accompanied the commandant to 
Launceston in 1847. ^^ ^^s own earnest request, he was taken to 
see the Cataract Basin of the South Esk, a river which foams and 
dashes through a narrow channel of precipitous rocks. It was a 
station of his people. As he drew nigh, his excitement was intense ; 
he leaped from rock to rock, with the gestures and exclamations of 
delight. So powerful were his emotions that the lad with him 
became alarmed, lest the associations of the scene should destroy 
the discipline, of twelve years' exile ; but the woods were silent ; he 
heard no voice save his own, and he returned pensively with his 
young companion. The same historian also states (II. p. 89) that 
some captives became strongly attached to their gaoler who had 
treated them with studious compassion, so that they left the prison 
with tears I Backhouse mentions (p. 90) that one of the natives, 
having been nursed through an illness, ** showed many demonstra- 
tions of gratitude. This virtue is often exhibited among these 
people." They also showed kindness to those in distress, thus: 
" Two white men were lost in crossing a river on a raft before the 
tide was out. When some of the native women saw them in 
danger, they swam to the raft and begged the men to get upon 
their backs, and they would convey them to the shore ; but the 
poor men refused, being overcome with fear. These kind-hearted 
women were greatly affected by this accident" (Backhouse, p. 147). 

From the practical jokes they played on the Frenchmen there 
is no doubt they possessed a considerable sense of humour. West 
says (II. p. 88): "They were fond of imitation and humour: 
they had their drolls and mountebanks: they were able to seize 
the peculiarities of individuals and exhibit them with considerable 

Backhouse mentions that under circumstances of rage among 
this people it is common for them to seize a stick and brandish 
it about (p. 103). During the war they naturally became vindictive. 
Desperate characters, who have absconded into the woods, have 
no doubt committed the greatest outrages upon the Natives, and 
these ignorant beings, incapable of discrimination, are now filled 
with enmity and revenge against the whole body of white in- 
habitants" (Colonel Arthur, Colonies and Slaves, Van Diemen's 
Land, p. 5). A Government Order says : " It is evident, from the 


hostile spirit of the natives, and from the cunning which seems 
common to all savages, that they are not to be approached without 
some personal danger {ibid, p. 34), and for such behaviour as this 
no one can reasonably blame them." 

Both Backhouse and Davies speak of their improvidence. The 
former says (p. 175), "The Wallaby and Brush Kangaroo are 
become scarce on Flinders Island, in consequence of the im- 
providence of the people in killing all they can, when they have 
opportunity, and often more than their wants require ; " and the 
latter (p. 415), "They are an extremely improvident race, for 
although dependent almost entirely upon their hunting for sub- 
sistence, yet they will slaughter indiscriminately, long after they 
have supplied themselves with sufficient for their present use." 
In a small circumscribed place like Flinders Island fauna might 
easily become extirpated without the natives being necessarily 
improvident, but Davies' statement in this respect is quite positive. 

Like many other savages they found civilization very irksome. 
Backhouse mentions (p. 96), " W. S. Darling had four natives that 
he brought from Flinders Island, dressed in decent clothes, and 
he took them into the town, where their cheerful intelligent 
appearance excited a favourable impression in the minds of many 
who had known little of the aborigines but as exasperated 
enemies ; also (pp. 480-481) that at the settlement on Flinders 
Island they have left off their dancing and hunting, and are 
acquiring the English language and useful arts, as well as an 
historical knowledge, at least, of Christianity." Nevertheless, 
when they had the opportunity, they preferred roaming about in 
their wild state. Hobbs (Evidence, Colonies and Slaves, Van 
Diemen's Land, p. 50) says : " Our natives are not susceptible of 
civilization ; their children, even if taken away when infants, would 
return to their parents, like wild ducks, when they grew up." 
Prinsep (p. 79) says: "Great pains have been taken with those 
that are caught, to civilize and educate them ; but, except learning 
a few English sentences, it was to little purpose, as they invariably 
ran back to the woods when an opportunity offered." West (II. 
p. 16) relates: "The children of aborigines, adopted by the 
whites, when they grew to maturity, were drawn to the woods, and 
resumed the habits of their kindred. A black girl, trained in 
Launceston, thus allured, laid aside her clothing, which she had 
worn nearly from infancy. It was thus with many." Calder^s 
researches lead to a similar conclusion (Joum. p. 10) : " Of firearms 
they learned the use from men and women of their own race, who. 


having been taken in early infancy by the settlers, were brought 
up in their own families, mostly as their own children ; but they 
invariably left them when they grew up, and rejoined their own 
people; possessed, as the whole race was, of most excellent 
memories, they never lost the language of our country." 

But while in the settlement they showed themselves apt pupils. 
Backhouse relates (p. 93) : '* The four aborigines took tea with us 
in the cabin ; they were very cheerful, and used cups and saucers 
with dexterity. A large number of the native women took tea with 
us ; they conducted themselves in a very orderly manner, and after 
washing up the tea-things, put them in their places, and showed 
other indications of advancement in civilization. Another party 
of aborigines breakfasted with us. We distributed among them 
some cotton handkerchiefs, and some tobacco. Some of the 
women immediately commenced hemming the handkerchiefs, 
having learned this art from the wife of the Catechist" (Backhouse, 
p. 170). They also improved in the art of war during their last 
struggle for existence (Arthur, Colonies and Slaves, Van Diemen's 
Land, pp. 22-23): **The aborigines have during a considerable 
period of time evinced a growing spirit of hatred, outrage, and 
enmity, against the subjects of His Majesty, and are putting in 
practice modes of hostility, indicating gradual, though slow 
advances in art, system, and method." Laplace (IIL ch. xviii. 
p. 197) gives similar testimony: "These islanders, whom the first 
European navigators described to us as men whose intellectual 
faculties were hardly superior to the instinct of animals, have 
changed greatly; for to-day, when excited by the thirst for 
vengeance or for pillage, they show such an intelligence, such 
a craftiness, that the colonists, whose dwellings lie farthest back 
at the edge of the forests, among whom fear engenders super- 
stition, believe them sorcerers." Considering the above, it may be 
questioned whether Dove's statement (p. 251) is not a little too 
severe : " Beyond the construction of rude canoes, their ingenuity 
was rarely exercised in devices of a useful or ornamental kind. 
Of a sluggish and phlegmatic temperament, they were aroused to 
action only by the pressure of want, or by the joyousness which 
nature has connected with muscular play." 

Regarding their courage, Laplace says (IIL ch. xviii. p. 197): 
"They make up for the courage and physical force which is 
lacking in them by cunning and an incredible agility." Burnet 
(Arthur, Colonies and Slaves, Van Diemen's Land, p. 35) also 
says in evidence before the Commission that they are quite 



undistinguished by personal courage. Other evidence (Govern. 

Ord., Colonies and Slaves, Van Diemen's Land, p. 66) would 

seem to confirm this : " The native tribes of this island are 

well known to be, with few exceptions, extremely timid, flying 

with precipitation at the appearance of two or three armed 

persons, yet the numerous attacks they have made on defenceless 

habitations, and the cruel murders they have committed with 

impunity on the white population, have had the effect of rendering 

them daily more bold and crafty." But on the other hand Breton 

(P- 355) allows that: "It is universally admitted in the colony, 

that these children of the wilderness are not deficient in courage, 

and are wont to show each other fair play, not seeming at all 

inclined to avail themselves of any unfair advantage," and Cook's 

people found them absolutely without fear, for, as Anderson 

records (Third Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.) : '* They approached us from 

the woods without betraying any marks of fear, or rather with 

the greatest confidence imaginable, for none of them had any 

weapons, except one, who held in his hand a small stick. When, 

however, the oflficer of that party fired a musket in the air, it sent 

them off" with the greatest precipitation. [But the next day] we 

had not been long landed, before about twenty of them, men and 

boys, joined us, without expressing the least sign of fear or 

distrust." Holman recording what he heard says: "They seem 

to have but little fear of death " (IV. ch. xii. p. 405). But during 

the war of extermination it was said (Minutes £x. Coun. Colonies 

and Slaves, Van Diemen's Land, p. 11): " Such is the distrust of 

the aboriginal natives, that it seems they invariably fly from any 

two or three armed persons." 

We have seen how difficult the French discoverers found it to 
open communication with the natives, nor were they at all singular 
in this respect. Mortimer, for instance, gives us the following 
account of an interview (pp. 18-20): "Our third mate on landing, 
saw several of them [natives] moving off". He approached them 
alone and unarmed, making every sign of friendship his fancy 
could suggest ; but though they mimicked his actions exactly, and 
laughed heartily, he could not prevail upon them to stay. The 
next morning, as we approached the shore, we observed several 
natives walking among the trees. When they perceived we had 
landed, and were pretty near them, they began to chatter very loud 
and walk away ; upon which we called to them, imitating their 
noise as well as we could, and had the satisfaction to see them stop 
at a little distance from us. Several of them having long poles or 


spears in their hands, we made signs to them to throw them aside, 
with which they immediately complied ; and in return we put away 
our muskets. They now suffered us to come so near them as to 
take some biscuit, a pen -knife, and other trifles from us ; but they 
took great care to avoid being touched. Some of them, indeed, 
would not accept of anything unless it was thrown to them ; and 
the whole party kept edging off by degrees. They seemed eager 
to procure everything they saw ; and had a great inclination for 
our hats. Mr. Cox gave one of them a silk handkerchief, and in 
return he threw him a fillet of skin which he wore tied round his 
head. The party which we saw consisted of about fourteen or 
fifteen men and women, but there were several more concealed 
among the trees. Upon the whole, they seemed to us to be a 
timorous, harmless race of people, and afford a fine picture of 
human nature in its most rude and uncultivated state. We spent 
some time in endeavouring to inspire these poor people with 
confidence ; but though they appeared to be very merry, laughing 
and mimicking our actions, and frequently repeating the words, 
Warra, Warra, Wat, they kept retiring very fast, and we soon lost 
them among the trees. Being willing to, if possible, see some- 
thing more of these singular people, we followed the track they had 
taken. We saw a smoke on the opposite side of the island, and 
made all the haste we could to come up with it ; but the natives 
had fled before our arrival." Bass's experience was very similar : 
" Their extreme shyness prevented any communication. As soon 
as the boat approached the shore, they ran into the woods" (Collins, 
ch. XV. p. 1 68). Captain Bligh was more fortunate when he first 
met the natives (pp. 50-51), and the account he gives of another 
party, met by one of his associates, is as follows {idi'd, p. 52) : "The 
account which I had from Brown was, that, in his search for plants, 
he had met an old man, a young woman, and two or three children. 
The old man at first appeared alarmed, but became familiar on 
being presented with a knife. He nevertheless sent away this 
young woman, who went very reluctantly." Lieutenant Marion's 
party did not find the people at all shy, for he says (pp. 27-29) : 
" The next day some oflicers, soldiers, and sailors, went on shore 
without any opposition. The aborigines seemed good-natured ; 
they collected wood, etc., and made a kind of pile. They pro- 
ceeded to offer to those newly landed some branches of dry wood, 
lighted, and appeared to invite them to set fire to the pile. The 
savages did not seem at all astonished ; they remained round 
us without making any demonstration either of friendship or 


hostility." In the Papers, Roy. Soc. Tas. for Aug. 1873, is the 
following statement of an old settler, whose testimony tends to 
show that later on some at least were neither timid nor shy. 
" Mr. Robert Thirkell, of Woodstock, near Longford, arrived in 
Tasmania in the year 1820, and was constantly among the natives. 
He found them a peaceable and inoffensive race of people, and 
in no case had he to resort to force to prevent mischief. On the 
first occasion the natives visited his place of residence on the 
Macquarie River, about twenty men, and the same number of 
women and children came, after which various numbers came at 
intervals. When he was engaged building a house, the men came 
and curiously inspected the work, and would use gimlets and other 
tools. At other times, Mr. Thirkell states that he met them in the 
bush, and in no case had he any cause to fear. . . . He has met 
the chief, who would walk up and put his hand on the horse's neck, 
talk as well as he could, and be quite friendly." 

Their apparent want of curiosity seemed to arouse the astonish- 
ment of many of the early explorers and settlers. Anderson 
remarks (Cook's Third Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.) : " They received every 
present we made them without the least appearance of satis- 
faction," while Marion's historian reports (pp. 28-29): "We 
endeavoured to gain their goodwill by giving them little presents : 
they rejected with disdain all that we offered them, even iron, 
looking-glasses, handkerchiefs, and pieces of cloth. We showed 
them the fowls and ducks which had been brought from the vessel, 
in order to make them understand that we desired to purchase of 
them. They took these animals, which they showed they did not 
know, and threw them angrily away." Bass narrates the following 
incident : — ** In their [his and his companions] way up, a human 
voice saluted them from the hills ; on which they landed, carrying 
with them one of several swans, which they had just shot. 
Having nearly reached the summit, two females . . . suddenly 
appeared at some little distance before them, snatched up each 
a small basket, and scampered off. A man then presented himself, 
and suffered them to approach him without any signs of fear or 
mistrust. He received the swan joyfully, seeming to esteem it 
a treasure. With some diflSculty they made him comprehend their 
wish to see his place of residence. He pointed over the hills, and 
proceeded onwards ; but his pace was slow and wandering, and he 
often stopped under pretence of having lost the track ; which led 
them to suspect that his only aim was to amuse and tire them out. 
Fearing, therefore, to lose the remaining part of the flood tide. 








. . . they parted from him in great friendship ... He was a 
man of middle age, with a countenance more expressive of 
benignity and intelligence than of that ferocity or stupidity 
which generally characterized the other natives ... No part 
of their dress attracted his attention, except the red silk hand- 
kerchiefs round their necks. Their firearms were to him objects 
neither of curiosity nor of fear ... His frank and open deport- 
ment led them to form a favourable opinion of the disposition of 
the inhabitants" (Collins, ch. xvi. pp. 187-188); and Captain 
Bligh has the following account of their strange behaviour when 
he ofifered them articles which must have been unknown to them 
before: — "The natives not coming near us, I determined to go 
after them, and we set out, in a boat, towards Cape Frederick 
Henry. ... I found landing impracticable, and therefore came 
to a grapnel, in hopes of their coming to us. . . . Soon after we 
heard their voices like the cackling of geese, and twenty persons 
came out of the wood, twelve of whom went round to some rocks 
when the boat could get nearer to the shore than we were. Those 
who remained behind were women. Wq approached within twenty 
yards of them, but there was no possibility of landing, and I could 
only throw to the shore, tied up in paper, the presents which 
I intended for them. I showed the different articles as I tied 
them up, but they would not untie the paper till I made an 
appearance of leaving them. Then they opened the parcels, and, 
as they took the articles out, placed them on their heads. On 
seeing this, I returned towards them, when they instantly put 
everything out of their hands, and would not appear to take notice 
of anything that we had given them. After throwing a few more 
beads and nails on shore, I made signs for them to go to the ship, 
and they, likewise, made signs for me to land, but as this could 
not be effected, I left them. . . . When they first came in sight, 
they made a prodigious chattering in their speech. . . . They 
spoke so quick, that I could not catch one single word they 
uttered" (pp. 50-51). When Bunce first met them, they scarcely 
deigned to look at his party (p. 55). Backhouse's later experience 
at their settlement on Flinders Island throws a little light on their 
apparent apathy. He relates (p. 81): **A considerable number of 
the aborigines were upon the beach when we landed, . . . but they 
took no notice of us until requested to do so by W. J. Darling; 
they then shook hands with us very affably. It does not accord 
with their ideas of proper manners to appear to notice strangers, 
or to be surprised at any novelty. On learninsr that plenty of 


provisions had arrived by the cutter, they shouted for joy. After 
sunset they had a corrobery or dance round a fire, which they 
kept up till after midnight, in testimony of their pleasure." 
•'When Jumbo [a native woman] first came on board, she was 
shown a musical box, constructed like a musical snuffbox. 
Having been brought up among Europeans, she did not feign 
inattention to novelties, as is common with her country people, 
but showed pleasure and astonishment in a remarkable degree " 
{ibid. p. 93). 

" There is similar variety of talent, and of temper, among the 
Tasmanian aborigines, to what is to be found among other 
branches of the human family," so says Backhouse (p. 174); while 
West (II. p. 89) describes the natives as variable from ignorance 
and distrust; probably from mental puerility: thus, their war 
whoop and defiance were soon succeeded by shouts of laughter." 

Backhouse narrates the following incident : " One of their chiefs 
took a fancy to a japanned comb, such as he saw a woman use, 
that had been among the sealers ; but when he obtained one, he 
was much disappointed to find that he could not get it through his 
tangled hair, which had among it knots of dried ochre and grease, 
notwithstanding he had ceased for some time to use these articles, 
and had tried to wash them out. In this dilemma, he applied to 
me ; and being desirous to please him, I did my best, but was soon 
obliged to hold the hair back with one hand, and pull with the 
comb with the other. From this he did not shrink, but encouraged 
me in my work, saying frequently, * Narra coopa — very good.' 
And when the work was accomplished, he looked at himself in 
a glass, with no small degree of pleasure. He was a man of an 
intelligent mind, who made rapid advances in civilization, and was 
very helpful in the preservation of good order at the Settlement " 
(pp. 180-181). 


Like the majority of savages they did not treat their women 
well. La Billardi^re states (II. ch. x. p. 59), " It gave us great 
pain to see these poor women condemned to such severe toil. 
We often entreated their husbands to at least take a share in their 
labour, but always in vain. They remained constantly near the 
fire, feasting on the best bits." And P^ron, describing a meeting 
with twenty female aborigines, says, ** They were nearly all covered 
with scars, the miserable results of the bad treatment of their 


brntal husbands." These women accompanied him to his boat, 
being heavily laden with fish, and here they found their husbands. 
The women appdfiared dismayed ; " their fierce husbands looked 
at them with anger and fury, which did not tend to reassure them. 
After having deposited the results of their fishing at the feet 
of these men, who immediately divided it up without giving them 
any, they proceeded to group themselves behind their husbands " 
(ch. xii. pp. 252-256). La Billardi^re mentions an incident 
which may tend to show that the women were chaste : ** Two of 
the young girls followed the different windings of the shore 
without mistrust, at a distance from the other natives, with three 
of our sailors, when these took the opportunity to treat them with 
a degree of freedom, which was received in a very different 
manner from which they had hoped. The young women imme- 
diately fled to the rocks most advanced in the sea, and appeared 
ready to leap into it and swim away if our men had followed them. 
They presently repaired to the place where we were assembled 
with the other savages; but it seems they did not disclose this 
adventure, for the most perfect harmony continued to prevail 
between us" (II. ch. x. p. 51). Bass thought the men jealous 
of their women. He mentions encountering a native Tasmanian 
whose two women, on Bass's approach, ran away, and who, on 
being requested to show them his hut, assented, but led the way 
to it with so many stoppages, that they, fearing to lose the tide, 
parted from him, and returned to their boat. "The most probable 
reason of his unwillingness to be their guide seemed his not 
having a male companion near him ; and his fearing that if he 
took them to his women, their charms might induce them to run 
off with them, a jealousy very common with the natives of the 
continent" (ch. xvi. p. 187). On the other hand, when the 
aggressiveness of the natives was making the life of the settlers 
fearfully unsecure, Mr. Brodribb said, ** Fourteen years ago there 
was a constant communication between the stock-keepers and 
the female natives, but that did not excite ill-blood in the males ; 
the men would offer to give up their wives for bread ; but did not 
feel indignant at the intercourse they permitted." But here again 
the evidence is contradictory. Mr. Robert Thirkell " found them 
a peaceful and inoffensive race of people. . . He never con- 
sidered it necessary to carry firearms to protect himself against 
them. . . . Mr. Thirkell considered any injury sustained by the 
white people was entirely occasioned by their own ill-usage of 
the females." The Hon. C. Meredith did not agree with the 


idea : ** Among the blacks there was no such feeling as jealousy, 
and it was notorious to the early settlers that the blacks were in 
the habit of forcing their gins to visit the whites in order to obtain 
what they could from them" (Papers, etc. Roy. Soc. Tas. Aug. 
1873). With regard to this matter, Calder (Joum. p. 10) says, 
** The natural propensity of the domesticated black females to be 
with their own people, operated on them, and they became the 
instructors, in mischief at least, of the wild natives, and, strangely 
enough, were foremost in every aggression on the whites, by whom, 
with hardly an exception, they had been treated with unvarying 
kindness." Accepting this statement as correct, there can only be 
two reasons for such conduct on the part of the women, either they 
had not been treated well by the whites or they wished to gain 
favour with their own men, who were jealous at their freedom with 
the white men. The following instance of maternal devotion given 
by Jeflfreys supports our views of the case : " Those [women] who 
have united themselves to our sailors have manifested a faithful 
and affectionate attachment, and are extremely jealous of a rival. 
This may be partially occasioned by their great dread of being 
abandoned by the sailors to the mercy of their native tribes, who 
never fail, on such occasions, to treat them with extreme severity. 
In some instances, their young children, the offspring of their 
illicit intercourse with Europeans, are forcibly taken from them 
and thrown into the fire, where they are destroyed. An instance 
of this kind, in which, however, the child was saved by the 
affection and courage of its parent, happened within the author's 
knowledge. One of these women, who had been for many years 
attached to a sailor, one evening wandered from her sealing party 
with a young child at her breast, and accidentally falling in with a 
band of natives, was immediately attacked, her infant was snatched 
from her, and thrown into a large fire ; this treatment inspired the 
woman with the most desperate courage: she rushed with the 
rapidity of lightning through the horde of barbarians, and in an 
instant plucked her child from the devouring element, and ran off 
with it into the woods, whither she was followed by the savages ; 
but she contrived, aided by the shades of night, to conceal herself 
and her scorched infant behind the thick trunk of a fallen tree. 
Considerable search was made for her by the men, but finding it 
useless, they returned to their fire, round ^hich they lay down and 
went to sleep. The poor woman, observing this, quietly left her 
hiding-place, and before morning reached the town of Launceston, 
a distance of about ten miles, where she once more found a 


comfortable home at the residence of a gentleman of that place. 
The poor mother suffered greatly, as well from fatigue as from the 
fire through which she had rushed to save her infant, and the child 
itself was so much burnt, that an inflammation taking place, it 
shortly after departed this life" (Jeffreys, pp. 118-124). At first, 
without doubt, the natives were friendly. Rossel, referring to the 
difficulties his party (same as La Billardi^re's) had with the natives, 
says (I. ch. iv. p. 76) : "The apparent simplicity and gentleness of 
the inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land, seen at Adventure Bay by 
Capt. Cooky and Oyster Bay by Capt. Cox, seem irreconcilable 
with the hostile behaviour of the natives witnessed by the French 
vessels. Perhaps the superiority of the European arms, which 
were unknown to them before the arrival of the French, of which 
they made trial on the unfortunate occasion when they were 
obliged to be used, has simply rendered them more cautious and 
timid ; which seems to indicate the necessity to be constantly on 
one's guard, and to keep them in check by fear." But natives 
were very friendly to this party at first, and La Billardi^re de- 
scribes an interview in the following words : " One of them had 
the generosity to give me a few small shells of the whelk kind, 
strung like a necklace. This ornament was the only one he 
possessed, and he wore it round his head. We were quitting this 
peaceable party with regret, when we saw the men and four of the 
youths separating from the rest, in order to accompany us. One 
of the most robust presently went into the wood, whence he 
returned almost instantly, holding in his hand two long spears. 
As he came near, he made signs to us, that we might be under no 
apprehensions; on the contrary, it appeared as if he were desirous 
of protecting us with his arms. No doubt they had left their 
weapons in the woods when they came to meet us in the morning, 
that they might give us no alarm" (II. ch. x. pp. 33, 34, 40); and 
later on (II. ch. x. p. 42) he continues : " The attentions lavished 
on us by these savages astonished us. If our path were interrupted 
by heaps of dry branches, some of them walked before and re- 
moved them to either side : they even broke off" such as stretched 
across our way from the trees which had fallen down. We could 
not walk on the dry grass without slipping every moment; but 
these good savages, to prevent our falling, took hold of us by the 
arm, and thus supported us. They continued to bestow on us 
these marks of kindness : nay, they frequently stationed themselves, 
one on each side, to support us the better." 

F6ron, who was the next explorer, did not, however, find them 


SO amiable. While the surprise of one of the women on seeing 
a sailor take oflf his fur glove caused the party to laugh heartily, 
a native stole a bottle of arrack. ''As this contained a large 
portion of our drink, we were obliged to make him return it, at 
which he seemed to feel some resentment, for he was not slow in 
departing with his family, in spite of all I could do to retain him 
longer" (ch. xii. p. 224). The probable result of this little 
contretemps is described by him thus (pp. 235-6) : ** On my return 
I found that the little yawl of the 'G^ographe' having gone to 
fish on Bruny Island, the aborigines had appeared in large 
numbers; that, loaded with presents by our companions, they 
had passed the greater part of the day amongst them ; that 
M. Maurouard, one of our midshipmen, had proposed to one 
amongst them who appeared the most robust, to wrestle with him, 
and that the Van Diemen's Lander had accepted the challenge ; 
was several times thrown by the French middy, and obliged to 
acknowledge his inferiority; that from that moment until their 
departure several hours had elapsed, without any signs being 
shown that the confidence and friendship of the aborigines had 
been weakened or altered, and that, loaded with presents by our 
friends, even at the moment when the latter were re-embarking, 
it was impossible to conceive the slightest suspicion of their 
intentions, when, all of a sudden, a long spear, thrown from 
behind some neighbouring rocks, struck M. Maurouard in the 
shoulder ; that this rude weapon had been thrown with such force, 
that, after slipping along the whole surface of the shoulder-blade, 
it opened a passage through the fiesh of the shoulder and of the 
neck. The crew of the yawl, indignant at this perfidious cowardice 
and savageness, had wished to pursue the savages in vengeance, 
but they had already disappeared among the rocks and brushwood." 
Shortly after this event P^ron's party were much troubled with the 
thefts committed by the natives. In describing an interview with 
fourteen savages, he says (ch. xiii. p. 279) : ** M. Rouget, to whom 
we had confided the musket, placed it by his side, keeping it, 
however, well in view, for fear that some aboriginal would snatch 
it up and flee with it into the forest ; a sort of conduct, with which, 
with other objects, we had had some experience of in the Channel 
[D'Entrecasteaux]." We may here mention in parenthesis that 
there are very few cases of theft brought-against the aborigines, as 
Davies says: **They do not appear given to pilfering, although 
instances have occurred." From this time forth all friendly inter- 
course between the natives and the Frenchmen was at an end, 


for, after describing a long, and so far very friendly interview, with 
fourteen male aborigines, P^ron narrates how the sight of a little 
boat belonging to his [P^ron's] vessels, cruising off the shore, 
threw them into a state of angry terror, in which he had the greatest 
difficulty to pacify them and to induce them to lay aside their arms. 
"Gradually they appeared to become bolder, they spoke among 
themselves in an excited way ; when they looked at us, their 
expression was gloomier and more savage than it had previously 
been; they appeared to meditate some violence, but the musket 
of M. Rouget seemed to restrain them, whether from curiosity or 
treachery, they worried him every minute to begin shooting the 
birds in the neighbouring trees, but we judged our position too 
critical to comply with their request. Their audacity grew with 
their defiance. One of them wanted my waistcoat, the bright 
colours of which had attracted his attention. He had already 
several times demanded it of me, but I had so positively refused 
that I did not think he would return to the charge. However, 
one minute, when I was not paying attention, he seized hold of 
me by*the waistcoat and pointed his spear at me, brandishing it 
furiously. I pretended to take his threats as a joke, but seizing 
the point of the lance, turned it aside, and showing him M. Rouget, 
who had just aimed at him, I said this single word in his language 
maia (dead) ; he understood me, and deposited his weapon with 
the same indifference as if no hostile demonstration against me 
had escaped him. I had hardly escaped this danger, when I found 
myself threatened, if not perilously, at least as disagreeably. One 
of the large gold earrings which I wore excited the desires of 
another savage, who, without saying anything, slid behind me, 
cuimingly slipped his finger through the ring, and tugged so hard 
that he would undoubtedly have torn my ear had not the clasp 
given way. It must be remembered that all these men had been 
loaded with presents by us; that we had given them mirrors, 
knives, coloured glass beads, pearls, handkerchiefs, snuff boxes, 
etc. ; that I had stripped myself of nearly all the buttons on my 
coat, which, being gilt copper, had seemed specially valuable to 
them on account of their brightness. Further, it must be recollected 
that we had lent ourselves to all their desires and caprices, without 
asking anything in return for our presents, and then one can 
judge how unjust and treacherous their conduct towards us was. 
I can, indeed, positively assert, that, but for M. Rouget and his 
scarecrow, M. Petit and I should have fallen victims to these fierce 
men. I must frankly declare that their actions were of such a 


treacherous and savage nature as quite to shock both mjrself and 
my companions ; and remembering what had happened to several 
of our companions in the channel, we came to the conclusion 
that it was necessary to appear among these people with the 
means to restrain their ill will or to repulse their attacks. Before 
leaving, I thought it advisable to bestow upon them fresh evidences 
of our goodwill : hence I approached the old man, took him 
affectionately by the hand, gave him a glass bottle, a knife, two 
gilt buttons, a white handkerchief, etc. The old man seemed the 
more pleased with these last gifts from the fact of our being about 
to leave him; he smiled with a contented air, mixed, however, 
still with something uneasy and savage. Meanwhile M. Petit, who 
wished to possess a spear, had bought one for a mirror. I myself 
desired to have a club, and I had already procured one, when the 
savages, thinking better of it, suddenly seized their weapons afresh, 
and uttering loud cries all together, they menaced us in such a 
threatening manner, that M. Rouget, in order to restrain them, 
was obliged to shout loudly, at the same time taking aim at the 
one who had shown himself the most furious against me. • After 
this last show of violence there was not a moment to lose in 
regaining the shore; but fearing that these savages would over- 
whelm us with stones or spears during our retreat, as they had 
done already several times in the channel, we decided to retire 
very slowly, M. Petit and I walking in front, while M. Rouget 
followed behind with his musket. These precautions were suc- 
cessful, and we regained the boat without accident. I have 
thought it proper to give the principal details of this long and 
perilous interview in order to enable the reader to rightly judge 
of the extent of the diflSculties which arise when travellers com- 
municate with savage races, and how impossible it is to triumph 
over their natural ferocity and their prejudices against us " (ch. xiii. 
pp. 283-287). 

During the war of extermination a good deal of evidence 
was collected regarding the attitude of the aborigines towards 
the white settlers, and it is not astonishing to find that, with a 
few exceptions, the Tasmanians are condemned as treacherous, 
aggressive, ungrateful and cruel. The following extracts confirm 
this statement : " We are undoubtedly the first aggressors, and the 
desperate characters amongst the prisoner population, who have, 
from time to time, absconded into the woods, have no doubt 
committed the greatest outrages upon the natives, and these 
ignorant beings, incapable of discrimination, are now filled with 


enmity and revenge against the whole body of white inhabitants 
(Colonel Governor Arthur, Colonies and Slaves, Van Diemen's Land, 
p. 5). Another account says : " Even the inhabitants of the settled 
districts were insecure at their farms and homesteads^ attacks having 
recently been made upon them, and unoffending and defenceless 
women and children having fallen victims to the cruelties of those 
wretched people. In the atrocities recently committed by the 
natives, it was most painful to find they had, in several instances, 
manifested a desire to kill and destroy the white inhabitants 
whenever they had dared to attack them, and not for the purpose 
of plundering for food or property " (Minutes Executive Council, 
Colonies and Slaves, Van Diemen's Land, p. 10). The lawless 
convicts . . . and the sealers . . . have, from the earliest period, 
acted with the greatest inhumanity towards the black natives, 
particularly in seizing their women . . . ; and these outrages have, 
it is evident, first excited, what they were naturally calculated to 
produce in the minds of savages, the strongest feelings of hatred 
and revenge. On the other hand, it is equally apparent that the 
aboriginal natives of this colony are, and ever have been, a most 
treacherous race ; that the kindness and humanity which they have 
always experienced from the free settlers has not tended to civilize 
them in any degree, nor has it induced them to forbear from the 
most wanton and unprovoked acts of barbarity, when a fair 
opportunity presented itself of indulging their disposition to 
maim or destroy the white inhabitants " (Arthur, pp. 1 5-1 6). 

In a Government Notice, mention is made of the "series of 
outrages " perpetrated by the aborigines, and the " wanton 
barbarity in which they have indulged by the commission of 
murder in return for kindness in numerous instances shown to 
them by the settlers and their servants " (Colonies and Slaves, Van 
Diemen's Land, p. 20). " It is evident from the hostile spirit of 
the natives, and from the cunning which seems common to all 
savages, that they are not to be approached, even with a view to 
reconciliation, without some personal danger" (Burnet, p. 34). 
"They [the natives] were sacrificed in many instances to 
momentary caprice or anger, . . . and they sustained the most 
unjustifiable treatment in defending themselves against outrages 
which it was not to be expected that any race of men should 
submit to without resistance, or endure without imbibing a spirit 
of hatred and revenge. ... It is the opinion of the best- 
informed persons . . . that the former [the native tribes] are 
seldom the assailants: and that when they are, they acted under 


the impression of recent injuries done to some of them by white 
people. . . . The Committee . . . are, however, not prepared to 
say that the description given by Lieutenant-Governor Sorell of 
the passive and inoffensive character of the aborigines, unless 
when previously attacked, is entirely supported by the evidence 
before them ... It is manifestly shown, that an intercourse 
with them on the part of insulated or unprotected individuals or 
families has never been perfectly secure. Although they might 
receive with apparent favour and confidence such persons as 
landed, from time to time, on various parts of the coast, or fell 
in with them in other remote situations, yet no sooner was the 
store of presents exhausted, or the interview from other causes 
concluded, than there was a risk of the natives making an attack 
on those very persons from whom they had the instant before been 
receiving acts of kindness, and against whom they had up to that 
moment suffered no indication of hostility to betray itself . . . 
These acts of violence on the part of the natives are generally 
to be regarded, not as retaliating for any wrongs which they 
conceived themselves collectively or individually to have endured, 
but as proceeding from a wanton and savage spirit inherent in 
them, and impelling them to mischief and cruelty when it 
appeared probable that they might be perpetrated with impunity" 
(Rep. Aborig. Com. pp. 36, 38). " Natives in Van Diemen's 
Land are not so brave as those in New South Wales; they are 
more cruel and treacherous. If they were ever so well used, 
they would turn upon those that fed them; the women visit the 
stock-huts as spies, and then the men attack them" (Hobbs, 
p. 50). Evidence of Mr. Kelly: " Has been a great deal among 
the natives ; found they were generally met by them in a friendly 
manner, but upon leaving them they would attempt to spear them. 
. . . They were always friendly at meeting, but treacherous at 
parting ; noticed this whenever he met them ... At Port Davey 
the natives enticed a boat to put in ; received bread from the 
crew, and when it was departing, threw spears at it, and speared 
one man" (p. 51). "The natives are grateful for kindness" 
(Bedford, p. 51). **Mr. Brodribb was not inclined to think that 
the whites were the first aggressors, nor did he think that the 
intercourse between the native women and the whites caused any 
resentment in the minds of the native men" (p. 53). Evidence of 
the Rev. R. Knopwood : " The first white man who was murdered 
by the natives was George Munday; he was out hunting; I 
believe at that time if any person had been surprised in the bush 


unarmed, the natives would have murdered him. Munday had fed 
the man who speared him . . . ; conceives this treacherous and 
ungrateful disposition prevailed amongst all the natives" (p. 53). 
A chief, with nine other men, having been induced to come to 
the house of Mr. Bateman, were treated by him " with the utmost 
kindness, distributing to them clothing and food; they were 
placed under no restraint. ... Mr. Bateman . . . was, with his 
family, most assiduous in cultivating the best understanding; but, 
after remaining with him eight or nine days, they silently withdrew 
in the dead of the night, robbing Mr. Bateman of everything they 
could lay their hands upon, and in their progress plundering every 
hut, and spearing every white man who had the misfortune to 
encounter them. . . . Eumarrah, the chief of the Stoney Creek 
Tribe, was captured two years ago ; for some time after his capture 
he was narrowly watched, but by his apparently artless manner, 
and strong protestations of attachment, he was gradually confided 
in more and more. ... I have . . . personally satisfied myself 
that he fully understood that the wishes of the Government were 
those of kindness and benevolence towards his race. . • . I 
entrusted him to conduct a party of natives, assuring him that 
they should be clothed, and fed, and protected ; but to my 
disappointment and sincere regret, he availed himself of the 
first moment to abscond, and has, I fear, rejoined his tribe, 
with the most hostile intentions" (Arthur, pp. 58-59). "The 
aboriginal natives of this island not only are without sense of 
the obligation of promises, but appear to be insensible to acts 
of kindness " (Min. Ex. Council, p. 64). 

Melville says (p. 349) : ** Some of the tribes were much more 
ferocious than others — the greater number were remarkably quiet 
and tractable," and Lloyd : " The men . . . were artful to a degree, 
and possessed of a most unamiable and morose expression of 
countenance" (p. 44). Holman (IV. ch. xii. pp. 404-^05) states: 
" An instance of humane consideration among them is, that, in the 
gratification of revenge for any injury they have received, they 
generally spare the children of those whom they have destined to 
be their victims ; " but on p. 425 he gives an account of a murder 
by some aborigines, in which no such humane consideration was 
shown : ** A barbarous murder was perpetrated by them . . . which 
will serve to show the savage nature of their dispositions. A settler 
having left his hut to perform some work at a little distance, his 
wife took a walk into the garden with a child in her arms, when 
some natives, who no doubt had watched the departure of her 


husband, rushed, forward, and instantly despatched both her and 
her child with a shower of spears, after which they robbed the hut 
and made their escape." Mr. Leigh says, the aborigines "are 
peaceable towards those who use them well, but revengeful of 
injuries" (III. p. 242), and West (II. p. 89): "They were cruel in 
their resentment, but not prone to violence ; . . . they were not 
ungrateful, especially for medical relief. . . . The English were 
seen by some friendly natives to draught the toad fish, which is 
poison, and by which several have perished ; the natives, perceiving 
its preparation for food, endeavoured to show, by gestures, that it 
was not to be eaten, and exhibited its effects by the semblance of 
death." La Billardi^re mentions the case of a native who ex- 
pressed his gratitude for a cock given him by pointing to the bird 
on his shoulder (II. ch. x. p. 66). The following three incidents 
related by Backhouse show that they had some sense of generosity 
for a foe, and of gratitude, even if not always exercised : " We 
passed the remains of a hut that was burnt about two years ago, by 
the aborigines of the Ouse or Big River district. An old man 
named Clark lost his life in it ; but a young woman escaped ; she 
rushed from the fire and fell on her knees before the natives, one of 
whom extinguished the flames which had caught her clothes, and 
beckoned to her to go away. They killed a woman on the hill 
behind the hut (p. 30). Two white men . . . were lost in crossing 
a river on a raft, before the tide was out. When some of the 
native women saw them in danger, they swam to the raft, and 
begged the men to get upon their backs, and they would convey 
them to the shore ; but the poor men refused, being overcome with 
fear. These kind-hearted women were greatly aflfected by this 
accident (p. 147). We visited Hugh Germeiin. . . . He came to 
Van Diemen's Land ... at the first settlement of the colony, . . . 
[when] he says, he rarely carried a gun, though he often fell in 
with parties of the aborigines, in whom there was no harm'* 
(p. 212). Dr. Ross found the natives very friendly; as he says: 
one day " I was alarmed by the appearance of fires in three or 
four situations On the opposite side of the river, and soon after, a 
scattered crowd of about sixty aborigines walked up to my cottage. 
... I did my best to conciliate my guests — I made them as wel- 
come as possible. . . . After several fruitless attempts, I succeeded 
in making one, who, I afterwards found, was a chief among them, 
sensible of the loss I should sustain if the fire were to be allowed 
to approach my com or my dwelling, for it was already on my side 
of the river, and spreading up the bank within a few yards. We 


were doing our best to extinguish it, 1 . . but our efforts would have 
^ been in vain, . . . had not the whole tribe of blacks all at once 
come forward to assist me. Even some hours afterwards, when the 
flames again broke out in two or three places, they were on the 
alert in a moment and put them out. I mention this incident, as 
it was an act of friendship on their part, and shows, that where 
they have not been insulted, or had cause of revenge, and are able 
to discriminate their friends from their foes, they are not wanting 
in reciprocal offices of friendship and humanity. I am convinced 
that, had I wished it, they would have stopped with me several 
days, and given me any other assistance I might stand in need of, 
as well as dividing with me the opossums and other game they had 
caught in the bush (Ross, pp. 145-146). On the day following 
this incident, when Dr. Ross was very anxious concerning a con- 
vict servant of his, named Cook, who had already robbed him 
several times, and at whose hands he feared further outrage, . . . 
these natives appeared again ; and for once I felt a sort of security 
from having them beside me." After describing their manner of 
cooking and eating a meal, he continues : " Their natural politeness 
was constantly urging me to partake with them, and, not to dis- 
oblige them, both I and my child each took a leg of nicely cooked 
kangaroo-rat in our hands. ... I had scarcely entered, when the 
report of a gun among the natives made me hasten back. ... I 
learned that a person, whom from the description ... I readily 
recognized to be Cook, had been seen by the dull light of the fire, 
standing among the trees a few yards behind. When he found 
himself discovered by the natives, he shouldered his musket and 
fired it off, pointed to the most crowded part, as they stood or laid 
round the fire. Happily, it was without effect. ... I was now 
joined by two of my own servants, and we were all, to the number 
of about a dozen, in instant pursuit of the runaway. . . . The 
night, however, was very dark, ... we were compelled, after run- 
ning about a quarter of a mile, searching all about, to give up the 
pursuit. Whether it was from this little incident or not, I cannot 
say, but henceforth an uninterrupted understanding and reciprocity 
of good offices subsisted between me and these wandering, and, as 
they afterwards proved to be, most savage blacks. . . . They never 
once committed the smallest trespass or annoyance on my farm, . . . 
and while the most dreadful outrages were committed by them all 
round, they never once attacked my farm or anything belonging to 
it"(i-^/^. pp. 153-155). 

From the above accounts it is very clear that originally the 



aborigines were by no means hostile. Wentworth, in fact, la3rs 
the whole responsibility of the hostility between the blacks and 
whites on an unfortunate occurrence which occurred in 1803, 
about thirty years before the hostility reached its climax.^ With 
regard to their treatment of animals, Davies says : " They ap- 
peared much to enjoy the tortures of a wounded bird or beast, 
nor did I ever see them put such to death to relieve it from 
its misery;" and West (11. p. 89) makes a similar statement. 


As will be seen with regard to their religion and to a belief in 
a Supreme Being, authorities differ considerably. Widowson 
believed (p. 188) it to be "generally supposed that they have not 
the slightest idea of a Supreme Being." Breton (p. 349) says : 
'* They do not appear to have any rites or ceremonies, religious 
or otherwise." On the other hand, most writers who touch on 
this subject agree in attributing some idea of religion to them. 
Thus, Mr. Leigh says (III. p. 243) : " Their notions of religion 
are very obscure. However, they believe in two spirits; one, 
who, they say, governs the day, and whom they call the good 
spirit ; the other governs the night, and him they think evil. To 
the good spirit they attribute everything good, and to the evil 
spirit everything hurtful. When any of the family are on a journey 
they are accustomed to sing to the good spirit for the purpose of 
securing his protection over their absent friends, and that they 
may be brought back in health and safety." Speaking of the 
aborigines of both New South Wales and Tasmania, Henderson 
(Bk. II. p. 148) states : "A common belief prevails in both 
countries regarding the existence of inferior spirits, who conceal 
themselves in the deep woody chasms, during the day; but who 
wander forth after dark, with power to injure or even to destroy. 
Their rude encampments are frequently alarmed by these unearthly 
visitors, whose fearful moanings are at one time borne on the 
midnight breeze, and at another, are heard mingling with the 
howling tempest." Jeflfreys is more positive as to their belief in 
a Godhead. His words are (p. 1 24) : " It frequently happens, 
that the sealers . . . are compelled to leave their [native] women 
for several days together. On these occasions, these aflfectionate 
creatures have a kind of song, which they chant to their imaginary 
deity, of whom, however, they have but a very indistinct notion ; 

» See Chapter IV. 


and who, they say, presides over the day, an evil spirit or demon 
making his appearance in the night. This deity, whomsoever it 
is, they believe to be the giver of everything good, nor do they 
appear to acknowledge any more than one God." But Lloyd, 
from their attitudes at their corroborries, was inclined to think 
that they considered the moon a deity (pp. 48-49): "Amongst 
the neighbouring tribes of aborigines it was customary to meet 
at some time-honoured trysting-place at every full moon, a period 
regarded by them with most profound reverence. Indeed, judging 
from their extraordinary gestures in the dance — the upturned eye 
and out-stretched arm, apparently in a supplicating spirit — I have 
been often disposed to conclude that the poor savages were in- 
voking the mercy and protection of that planet as their guardian 

Milligan gives us two versions of his experience regarding 
their religious beliefs. The one in the voyage of the Beacon 
(pp. 29-30) runs thus : ** They were polytheists ; that is, they 
believed in guardian angels or spirits, and in a plurality of 
powerful but generally evil-disposed beings, inhabiting crevices 
and caverns of rocky mountains, and making temporary abode in 
hollow trees and solitary valleys ; of these a few were supposed 
to be of great power, while to the majority were imputed much 
of the nature and attributes of the goblins and elves of our native 
land. The aborigines were extremely superstitious, believing 
most implicitly in the return of the spirits of their departed friends 
and relations to bless or injure them, as the case might be ; and 
they often carried about with them one or other of the bones of 
the deceased as a charm against adversity." The other account 
of Milligan, taken from Papers Roy. Soc. of V. D. Land for 
Jan. 1855, is as follows: "Mr. Milligan said he had ascertained 
that the Tasmanian aborigines, previous to their intercourse with 
Europeans, distinctly enterteiined the idea of immortality as re- 
garded the soul or spirit of man ; their legends proved also their 
belief in a host of malevolent spirits and mischievous goblins, 
whose abodes were caverns and dark recesses of the dense forests, 
clefts in rocks on the mountain tops, etc. ; and that they con- 
sidered one or two spirits to be of omnipotent energy ; but that 
they do not seem to have invested even these last with attributes 
of benevolence, although they reposed unqualified trust in the 
tutelar agencies of the spirits of their departed friends and 
relations. To these guardian spirits they gave the generic name 
Warrawah, an aboriginal term, like the Latin word umbra, signi- 


fying shade, shadow, ghost, or apparition." Calder relates that 
on one occasion, "while the natives were making the funeral 
pile, Robinson took occasion to extract from them what their 
ideas were of a future state, and where they thought the departed 
went to. They all answered, * Dreeny^ that is, to England, saying, 
^ Parleevar loggemu uenee toggerer Teeny Dreeny^ mobherly Parleevar 
Dreeny^ (native dead, fire ; goes road England, plenty natives 
England). He tried to convince them that England was not the 
home of the departed, but did not argue them out of their belief. 
This simple reply shows that they quite believed in a life . . . 
after the destruction of the body at the funeral pile. Robinson 
adds that they were fatalists, and also that they believed in the 
existence of both a good and evil spirit. The latter, he says, they 
called Raegpo wrapper^ to whom they attributed all their afflictions. 
They used the same word to express thunder and lightning" 
(Joum. p. 18). Davies (p. 417) thought it hard to believe that 
the natives have "no idea of a future state, . . . and yet from 
every inquiry, both from themselves and from whites most con- 
versant with them, I have never been able to ascertain that such 
a belief exists. They believe in the existence of an evil spirit, 
called by some tribes Namma^ who has power by night ; of him 
they are much afraid, and never will willingly go out in the dark. 
I never could make out that they believed in a good deity, for 
although they spoke of one, it struck me that it was what they 
had been told ; they may, however, believe in one who has power 
by day. I have never been able to ascertain that they put either 
weapons or food in the tree with the dead." But Davies' opinion 
that the natives did not believe in a future state is contradicted by 
several whom one should think would know. According to West 
(II. pp. 89-90) : " Their religious ideas were exceedingly meagre 
and uncertain. To Mr. Horton*s inquiries, in 1821, they answered, 
* don't know,' with broad grins. They appear to have had no 
religious rites, and few congenial ideas : they dreaded darkness 
and feared to wander from their fires ; they recognized a malignant 
spirit, and attributed strong emotions to the devil \_sic\ The 
feats imputed to his agency do not much differ from the sensations 
of night-mare. They believed him to be white — a notion, sug- 
gested by their national experience. They ascribed extraordinary 
convulsions to this malignant power, and to his influence they 
traced madness. Lord Monboddo might have contrived their 
account of the creation : they were formed with tails, and without 
knee-joints, by a benevolent being ; another descended from 








4/ ■" ''tl "'^ 







heaven, and compassionating the sufferers, cut off the tail, and 
with grease softened the knees. As to a future state, they 
expected to re-appear on an island in the Straits, and to jump 
up white men. They anticipated in another life the full enjoyment 
of what they coveted in this. These scraps of theology ... are 
of doubtful origin ; nothing seems certain, except that they dreaded 
mischief from demons of darkness. They had no idols." 

Backhouse, who may be considered, with Dove, as a person likely 
to have made good inquiries as to their beliefs, says (pp. 181- 
182): "These people have received a few faint ideas of the 
existence and superintending providence of God ; but they still 
attribute the strong emotions of their minds to the devil, who, 
they say, tells them this or that, and ta whom they attribute the 
power of prophetic communication. It is not clear that by the 
devil they mean anything more than a spirit ; but they say he lives 
in their breasts, on which account they shrink from having the 
breast touched. One of their names for a white man signifies 
a white devil or spirit; this has probably arisen from mistaking 
white men at first for spiritual beings. They have also some 
vague ideas of a future existence, as may be inferred from their 
remarks respecting the deceased woman on the Hunter Island. 
They also say they suppose that when they die, they shall go to 
some of the islands in the Straits, and jump up white men: but 
the latter notion may be of modem date." Finally we give Dove's 
views in his own words (I. p. 253): "The moral apprehensions 
which prevailed among them were peculiarly dark and meagre. 
It is remarkable that a persuasion of their being ushered by death 
into another and a happier state of existence was almost the only 
remnant [sic] of a primitive religion which maintained a firm 
abode in their minds. As might be expected, however, their 
ideas of a life beyond the grave were entirely of a sensual 
kind. To be enabled to pursue the chase with unwearied ardour 
and unfailing success, and to enjoy in vast abundance and with 
unsated appetite the pleasures which they courted on earth, were 
the chief elements which entered into their picture of an elysium. 
While there was no term in their native languages to designate 
the Creator of all things, they stood in awe of an imaginary spirit, 
who was disposed to annoy and hurt them. The appearance of 
this malignant demon, in some horrible form, was especially dreaded 
in the season of night. Two customs of a superstitious kind are 
still retained among them ; neither, however, bearing the slightest 
reference even to low and misguided views of religious homage." 


The following curious fact is extracted from West (p. 87): "A 
gentleman, on guard during the black war, watched a small group 
in the gaol yard round their night fires. One of them raised his 
hands, and moved them slowly in a horizontal direction; and 
spreading, as if forming an imaginary fan or quarter circle : he 
turned his head from side to side, raising one eye to the sky, 
where an eagle hawk was soaring. The action was accompanied 
by words, repeated with unusual emotion ; at length they all rose 
up together, and uttered loud cries. The whole action had the 
appearance of an incantation." 

Lloyd gives (pp. 254-256) a sermon preserved by Robinson, and 
which was written down by a converted native in English in 1838. 
There is nothing of any note in this production. 


According to Dove (I. p. 253): "Instead of an elective or 
hereditary chieftaincy, the place of command was yielded up to 
the bully of the tribe." This statement is confirmed by Backhouse 
(p. 105), who says: "The chiefs among these tribes are merely 
heads of families of extraordinary prowess ; " and also by Davies 
(p. 418), who tells us that, "Each tribe, or portion of a tribe, is 
under a chief, who does not appear to be hereditary, but to obtain 
his rank from his daring in war." Breton (p. 349) and Dixon 
(p. 22) both state that each tribe had its own chief or leader; but 
it is evident that their position can have had but little, if any, 
dignity or authority attached to it, for La Billardi^re observes 
(II. p. 61): that "during the whole time we spent with them, 
nothing appeared to indicate that they had any chiefs. Each 
family . . . seemed to us to live in perfect independence." P6ron 
authoritatively remarks (p. 448), that " the aborigines were without 
any chiefs, properly so called, without laws, or any form of regular 
government." We have, on the other hand, the opinion of Lieut. 
Jeffreys, who considered the statement that the Tasmanians were 
without any chiefs to be an erroneous one ; and thought they had 
persons to whom they paid a kind of homage and obedience. 
He quotes (pp. 130-131), in support of this view, the following 
incident : " Some time ago a number of bushrangers took it into 
their heads to run away with a Government boat; being driven 
on shore, . . . they soon fell in with a number of natives. A 
person of the name of Howe had the command of the bush- 
rangers ; and one of the natives, perceiving by his gestures, and 


the conduct of the rest of the men, that Howe maintained a sort 
of authority over his fellows, stepped forward a little from his 
companions, and showed a disposition to have some personal 
intercourse with him, refusing at the same time to hold any 
conversation with the others. . . . Howe ordered his men to go 
and drag the boat up. . . . The native, seeing this, beckoned to 
his men also to go and assist Howe's men, . . . but held Howe 
himself by the collar, intimating that they should neither of them 
suffer their dignity to be lessened by themselves rendering the men 
any assistance in so servile a piece of labour. This anecdote 
sufficiently proves that the native tribes of Van Diemen's Land do, 
in fact, observe a degree of obedience to those Whom they consider 
to be their chiefs or heads." West observes (p. 8i) that their 
chiefs were merely heads of families, ... and were thought to 
possess very trifling and uncertain control. He adds : '* Little is 
known of their policy, and probably there was but little to be 
known:" while Robinson, the special friend of the aborigines, 
was only " of the opinion that they were divided into various tribes 
under chiefs occupying particular districts" (Colonies and Slaves, 
p. lo); but he has left us no further definite information as to 
the amount of authority and influence possessed by these leaders. 
This, apparently probable, entire absence of any form of govern- 
ment among the Tasmanian tribes increased the difficulties 
attending upon the establishment of friendly relations between 
them and the English, to no inconsiderable degree; thus in the 
Minutes of the Executive Council, p. ii, we find it stated that, 
"The independence of the several tribes one of another would 
make a separate communication with each necessary. . . . And, 
after all, ... so totally do they appear to be without government 
amongst themselves, that the Council much doubt if any reliance 
could be placed upon any negotiation which might be entered 
into with those who appear to be their chiefs, or with any tribe 
collectively." And again, on p. 64, this same difficulty is referred 
to in similar terms, making it evident that these so-called ** chiefs " 
possessed but the minimum amount of recognized authority among 
the tribes to which they belonged. We have no direct evidence 
to show that they were ever in the habit of meeting in council, to 
discuss matters concerning the tribes. The boundaries of various 
hunting-grounds belonging to each tribe were respected, and, 
as we shall see,* trespass was equal to a declaration of war; 

* Sec Chapter on War. 


but being an entirely nomadic race, "they had no permanent 
villages, and, accordingly, no individual property in land " (West, 
p. 20). The settlement of personal quarrels was eflfected by a 
primitive, but striking, description of duel. "If an offence be 
committed against the tribe, the delinquent has to stand while 
a certain number of spears are, at the same time, thrown at 
him ; these, from the unerring aim with which they are thrown, he 
can seldom altogether avoid ; although from the quickness of his 
sight, he will frequently escape unhurt; he moves not from his 
place, avoiding the spears merely by the contortions of his body. 
(Davies). "The Tasmanians varied this form of punishment 
by another, which closely resembled that of the pillory," Davies 
{ihid.^ informing us, that their custom was, " to place the offender 
upon the low branch of a tree, point at and jeer at him." 
Beyond this, however, we know nothing concerning either the 
nature of the offences, considered as such by the aborigines, or 
of the punishments which they inflicted for the same. 


No very striking or remarkable customs appear to have prevailed 
among the Tasmanians. We are told by P6ron (p. 221), that 
kissing and embracing were seemingly unknown to them as salu- 
tations, for having thus saluted one of the natives, P^ron adds : 
" From the air of indifference with which he received this proof 
of our interest, it was easy to judge it had no meaning for him ; " 
while in another place (p. 282) he says: "I must not omit to 
mention an interesting discovery I then made [in an interview with 
fourteen aborigines] ; it was, that they had no idea of the action of 
embracing." He then proceeds to describe how he endeavoured 
to make them understand by practical demonstrations, but that 
their only response was Nidego (I do not know), leading him to 
believe that the custom of embracing was unknown to these people. 
He adds : " I must, however, guard myself from stating this to be 
a positive fact, only adding here that I have never seen a savage, 
either in Van Diemen's Land or New Holland, embrace one of 
their own, or one of the opposite sex." According to La 
Billardi^re (11. p. 33), the action of hand-shaking was not un- 
familiar to them, judging from the following incident which he 
has recorded. A party of natives having been met with, "I 
hesitated not," he says, " to go up to the oldest, who accepted . . . 
a piece of biscuit. ... I then held out my hand to him as a sign 


of friendship, and had the pleasure to perceive, that he compre- 
hended my meaning very well : he gave me his, inclining himself 
a little, and raising at the same time his left foot, which he carried 
backward in proportion as he bent his body forward." The 
indifference, and possibly dislike, of the Tasmanians, to kissine, 
is amusingly illustrated in the following anecdote narrated by West 
(p. 89): "A little boy, captured by a surveyor in 1828, ... on 
entering a room where a young lady was seated, was told to kiss 
her; after long hesitation, he went up to her, laid his fingers 
gently on her cheek, then kissed them, and ran out I " While they 
appear to have been demonstrative in their reception of friends, 
strangers were treated with indifference. Thus Backhouse (p. 81) 
says: "A considerable number of the aborigines were upon the 
beach when we landed . . . but they took no notice of us until 
requested to do so by W. J. Darling ; they then shook hands with 
us very affably. It does not accord with their ideas of proper 
manners to appear to notice strangers, or be surprised at any 
novelty." On a subsequent occasion, however, Backhouse (p. 180) 
tells us, that " On approaching this place, we were discovered by 
some women . . . they now recognized us as old acquaintances, 
and gave us a clamorous greeting . . . with such a noise as, had 
we not known that it was the expression of friendship on the 
part of the people, would have been truly appalling." P6ron also 
describes a friendly greeting on the part of some aborigines whom 
he had previously met. He states (pp. 225-226) that: "As soon 
as they saw us they raised great shouts of joy, and doubled their 
pace in order to rejoin us. . . The old man taking M. Freycinet, 
made the sign for us to follow, and conducted us to the miserable 
cabin we had just left. The fire was lighted in an instant; and 
after having repeated several times midiy midi (sit down), which 
we did, the savages squatted on their heels," etc., etc. 

The Tasmanians, like some other savage races, were in the habit 
of abandoning the sick and infirm ; Widowson informing us (p. 1 9 1 ), 
that " those who are aged or diseased, are left in hollow trees, or 
under the ledges of rocks, to pine and die. Backhouse confirms 
this (p. 84), and further tells us that, " when any of these people 
fall sick in their native state, so as to be unable to accompany the 
others in their daily removals, they are furnished with . . . food 
. . . and a bundle of the leaves of Mesemhryanthemum equilaterale, 
. . . which the natives use as a purgative; and they are left to 
perish, unless they recover in time to follow the others." This 
custom was but the necessary result of their wandering life ; for as 


West points out (p. 90), "their tribes could neither convey them, 
nor wait for their recovery." He adds, that "this custom was 
modified by circumstances, and sometimes by the relatives of the 


We know of three forms of taboo, as practised among the 
Tasmanian aborigines. These were the absolute exclusion from 
conversation of the names of all deceased, or even absent, relatives 
and friends ; the avoidance of their burial-places ; and abstinence 
from certain kinds of food, such as the wallaby and scaled fish. 
Milligan (Papers, Roy. Soc. Tas. III. p. 281) says: "It was a 
settled custom in every tribe, upon the death of any individual, 
most scrupulously to abstain ever after from mentioning the name 
of the deceased — a rule, the infraction of which would, they con- 
sidered, be followed by some dire calamities : they therefore used 
great circumlocution in referring to a dead person, so as to avoid 
pronunciation of the name — if, for instance, William and Mary, 
man and wife, were both deceased, and Lucy, the deceased sister 
of William, had been married to Isaac, also dead, whose son 
Jemmy still survived, and they wished to speak of Mary, they would 
say, * the wife of the brother of Jemmy's father's wife,' and so on." 
Calder (Joum.) observes that " they never spoke of the dead, nor 
ever again mentioned their names." Braim likewise states (II. 
p. 267), " Nothing could offend an aborigine so much as to speak 
of, or inquire about, his dead friends or relations." We have 
further the testimony of Dove (I. pp. 253-254), who, after referring 
to this curious "fear of pronouncing the name by which a deceased 
friend was known, as if his shade might be thus offended," goes on 
to say : " Nothing is more offensive to them than a departure from 
the rule which they have prescribed to themselves on this point, by 
the white people with whom they may be drawn into converse. To 
introduce, for any purpose whatever, the name of any one of their 
deceased relatives, calls up at once a frown of horror and indig- 
nation." It would appear from the following incident, recorded by 
Backhouse (p. 93), that this strange avoidance of the pronun- 
ciation of names extended to those of the living absent, as well 
as the dead ; for he tells us that, " When on the island one of 
the women threw some sticks at J. Thomloe, on his mentioning 
her son, who is at school at Newtown. The mention of an absent 
relative is considered offensive by them, and especially if deceased." 

TABOO. 75 

What particular fear or superstition was involved in this practice 
we have no evidence to show. With regard to their dread of 
passing by burial-places, we have it on the authority of Braim 
(II. p. 267) that: "Whenever they approached places where 
any of their countrymen had been deposited, they would on all 
future occasions avoid coming near such spots, and would rather 
go miles round than pass close to them." Concerning their 
rejection of certain kinds of food, Davies (p. 414) states, that "Some 
tribes, or portions of tribes, will not eat the female wallaby, others 
will not eat the male : to what superstition this is attributable, I 
am ignorant. Others will not eat scaled fish ; and it appeared to 
me, when at Flinders Island, that the western natives would not 
eat the smooth-shelled haliotis, though the easterns did." Back- 
house (p. 171) also informs us that some of the natives only eat the 
male wallaby, others only the female ; and adds : " We were unable 
to learn the reason of this; but they so strictly adhere to the 
practice, that, it is said, hunger will not drive them to deviate 
from it." We further learn from Calder (Joum. 1873) that 
no fish, except shell-fish, "would any native of Tasmania ever 
touch ; whether it was from natural aversion or superstition, is not 
known ; but scale-fish of any kind " was an abomination to the 
entire race. This taboo of male or female wallaby, as the case may 
be, may probably be akin to similar taboo practised by totemistic 
uncivilized races only. With regard to the Tasmanians^ we do not 
appear to have any indications of totemism. 


We have very little information under this heading. According 
to Calder, Robinson says : " . . . The savage of Tasmania was 
more than ordinarily liable to attacks (of epidemic disease), which 
... he knew no remedy for, and sought only to relieve his pain 
by . . . the excessive laceration of his body with flint, or glass 
if he could get it, which, by producing weakness, made death 
only the more speedy and certain. I quite believe that the 
original cause of their decay lay in their own imprudence 
generating fatal catarrhal complaints, from which ... by 
proper remedial measures, resorted to early, (they) would have 
recovered. These imprudences were . . . practised only by a 
few tribes inhabiting the settled districts, but the consequences, 
which are epidemic, infected all before long" (Joum. p. 15). 
Robinson also relates of a sick woman who was afflicted, according 


to her husband, with sick head, breast, belly. On each of these 
parts incisions had been made with a piece of glass bottle. The 
forehead was much lacerated, the blood streaming down her face. 
Her whole frame was wasted ; she had a ghastly appearance " 
(Calder, Joum. p. i6). La Billardi^re remarks (II. ch. x. p. 57): 
"One of the savages has several marks of very recent bums 
on his head. Perhaps they employ the actual cautery in many 
diseases." Holman says much the same (IV. ch. xii. p. 405): 
" Bleeding by scarification is a mode of treatment in general use 
among them, in cases of sickness." West records (II. p. 90) 
that "they suffered from several disecises which were often fatal. 
Rheumatism and inflammation were cured by incisions ; the 
loathsome eruption, called the native leprosy, they relieved by 
wallowing in ashes: the catarrh was very destructive, in certain 
seasons. . . . Their surgery was simple : they cut gashes with 
crystal." Dove's (pp. 252-3) evidence is similar. Backhouse, 
noticing that the inhabitants of the west coast did not mark their 
bodies with the same regularity as those on the east, considered 
that the scars upon those on the west coast appeared to have 
proceeded from irregular surgical cuts, and were principally upon 
the chest" (p. 105). They treated a snake bite by boring the 
wound with a charred peg: stuffed it with fur, and then singed 
off the surplus to the level of the skin " (West, II. p. 90). " The 
aborigines . . . often carried about with them one or other of 
the bones of the deceased [friend or relation] as a charm against 
adversity. Bones of the leg, arm, foot, and hand, the lower jaw, 
and even the skull, have in this way, and for this purpose, been 
found suspended round th^ necks of individuals amongst them" 
(Milligan, Beacon, p. 30). " The aborigines use charms, and they 
wear the dead bones of their friends slung round their necks as 
such. Those that I have seen have been most commonly the 
jaw-bone, or the bone of the thigh ; as also the skulls of children, 
the latter wrapped up in a skin. These bones are worn by people 
in perfect health, most probably as mementos of deceased rela- 
tions ; but if so, they lend them to others of their own tribe 
when ill, who wear them as charms round their necks" (Davies, 
p. 416-417). Dove also refers (pp. 252-253) to their "anxiety 
to possess themselves of a bone from the skull or the arms of 
their deceased relatives, which, sewed up in a piece of skin, they 
wear round their necks, confessedly as a charm against sickness 
or premature death." Barnard Davis says these charms were 
suspended by " fine native cords " (Osteology, p. 9). Backhouse, 


while considering them worn as tokens of affection, also found 
them used as charms, for he relates : " A man who had a head- 
ache to-day had three leg bones fixed on his head, in the form 
of a triangle, for a charm" (ch. vii. p. 84), while Brough Smyth 
(11. pp. 398-399) has the following statement : " It is said that they 
carried sacred stones, with which they could cause diseases among 
their enemies, and cure those that afflicted their friends ; and that 
they had the same belief in the evils that could be worked by any 
one who might possess himself of a portion of their hair," but 
we have been unable to trace his authority for this statement. 
When any of these people fall sick, in their native state, so as to be 
unable to accompany the others in their daily removals, they are 
furnished with a supply of such food as the party happens to 
have, and a bundle of the leaves of Mesembryanthemum equilateral^ — 
a plant known in the colony by the name of Pig-faces, — which 
the natives use as a purgative, and they are left to perish, unless 
they recover in time to follow the others" (Backhouse, p. 84). 
" When a woman was taken in labour, the tribe did not wait for 
her, but she was left behind with another woman, and afterwards 
followed as she best could" (Davies, p. 412). The office of 
watching over the sick and dying was left to the women (Dove, 
p. 252). According to Dove (p. 252): ** No one presumed to be 
more qualified than another to suggest or administer a cure," but 
West says (II. p. 90), " There were some who practised more than 
others, and therefore called doctors by the English." From 
Backhouse we have the following accounts : " An eruptive disease 
prevailed among the aborigines at this period: it was attended 
with fever for about four days, and was supposed to have arisen 
from feeding too freely on young mutton-birds. One of the men 
suffering under it, and covered with sores as large as a shilling, 
lay by a fire, and was literally wallowing in ashes, having covered 
himself with them from head to foot. This, we were informed, 
was one of their common remedies " (p. 90). He also mentions 
(p. 103) meeting a woman who was the last of the tribe, and "on 
inquiring what killed them all, an aged man, one of their doctors, 
replied, * The devil.' I desired to know how he managed. The 
woman began to cough violently, to show me how they were 
affected. The old doctor is affected with fits of spasmodic con- 
traction of the muscles of one breast, which he attributes, as 
they do all other diseases, to the devil ; and he is cunning enough 
to avail himself of the singular effect produced upon him by this 
malady, to impose upon his country people, under the idea of 


Satanic inspiration. The doctor had his instruments lying by 
him, consisting of pieces of broken glass; with these he cuts 
deep gashes in any part affected with pain.'' And Backhouse 
ends up this subject with : " Lately one of the women died. The 
men formed a pile of logs, and at sunset, placed the body of 
the woman upon it. They then placed their sick people around 
it, at a short distance. On A. Cottrell inquiring the reason of 
this, they told him that the dead woman would come in the 
night and take the devil out of them" (p. 105). 




It is very remarkable that the Tasmanians, who developed in 
their last struggle for life and liberty such remarkable warlike 
powers, should originally have been armed only with the very 
crudest weapons. We are distinctly told that these people had 
neither throwing-sticks (wommeras) nor boomerangs (Jeffreys, 
p. 126; Breton, p. 355; Davies, p. 419; Went worth, p. 115). 
According to Marion du Fresne (p. 28): "The men were all armed 
with pointed sticks, and some stones which appeared to us to have 
cutting edges, similar to the iron one of hatchets," while Calder 
(Joum. p. 21) says: "When his [the Tasmanian's] other weapons 
failed him, he fought with stones, and even with these was a very 
formidable opponent." One authority (Meredith, Papers Roy. 
See. Tasm. Aug. 1873) says they had no shields. But Mr. Thirkell 
{ibid,^ says, "They used a shield made of a piece of flat wood." 
Their weapons were thus limited to the spear and the waddy. 

La Billardi^re (I. ch. v. p. 233) speaks of javelins sixteen or 
eighteen feet in length, and says of them (II. ch. x. p. 25), "This 
weapon was no more than a very straight long stick, which they 
had not taken the pains to smooth, but which was pointed at one 
end." Melville describes the spear as " a straight stick, varying in 
length from five to eight feet, usually made of curri-john, or the 
tea tree, with the bark scraped off and pointed at the thickest 
end" (p. 347) Widowson (p. 190) describes it as "about twelve 
feet long, and as thick as the little finger of a man : the tea tree 
supplies them with this matchless weapon ; they harden one end, 
which is very sharply pointed, by burning and filing it with a flint 
prepared for the purpose." 

Foumeaux (Cook, Second Voy. Bk. I. ch. vii.) thought the spear 
was made sharp by means of a shell or stone. Mortimer (p. 20) 
says, "Their only weapon seems to be a rude spear, or lance, which 
is cut or scraped to a point at one end, but Calder (Joum. p. 21) 
sajTS, "The spear was pointed at both ends, and ten feet long 


or more." Henderson describes the weapon as follows (Bk. II. 
pp. 1 50-1 51): "Their principal weapon is the spear, which is 
commonly six feet in length, and about the thickness of a man's 
finger. Straight boughs of several descriptions of shrubs are 
selected for the purpose of preparing them ; and these, after being 
dried to hardness over a fire and carefully pointed, require but 
little strength in order to inflict a very severe wound." According 
to Davies (p. 419) the spear was made of the wood of leptospermum 
or mdaleuca, hard heavy woods. In the Report Roy. Soc. Van 
Diemen's Land for 1852, p. 325, there is the following statement: 
** Mr. Milligan presented a waddie and six hunting spears of the 
aborigines of Tasmania, measuring between ten and fifteen feet in 
length, and made of a tall straight-grained Leptospermum^^ *tea 
tree,* of the colony." Backhouse states (p. 172): "In dressing 
their spears they [the aborigines] use a sharp flint or knife; in 
using the latter for this purpose, they hold it by the end of the 
blade. They straighten their spears till they balance as accurately 
as a well-prepared fishing rod, performing this operation with their 
teeth." James Scott (Papers Roy» Soc. Tasm. July, 1873) also 
says : " The ends of the spears were hardened by being a short 
time in the fire." Mr. Thirkell speaks of the spears being jagged 
at the sharp end (Papers Roy. Soc. Tasm. Aug. 1873), and in 
reference to this statement we find {ibid,), " In the eastern districts, 
with which Mr. Meredith was familiar, the blacks never jagged 
their spears, nor did they make use of a shield. The jagged 
spears and shields would therefore appear to have been used more 
particularly by the northern tribes, which were specially referred to 
by Mr. Thirkell." The only reference to a poisoned spear is by 
Melville (p. 109), who, in the course of a fight, refers to a heavy 
barbed spear thirteen feet in length, fatally poisoned by plunging 
it into some decomposed carcase." Calder (Journ.) quotes the 
following from an official letter from Mr. W. B. Walker : " At their 
places of rendezvous, the natives keep a large stock of spears and 
waddies. The spears are carefully tied to straight trees with their 
points at some distance from the ground." 

Their other weapon, "the waddy, was a short piece of wood, 
reduced and notched towards the grasp and slightly rounded at 
the point" (West, p. 84.). Henderson speaks of it as about two 
feet long and "which they are in the habit of employing for 
the purpose of despatching a wounded victim" (Bk. II. p. 151). 

^ Bunce says (pp. 23-24) it was Z. lanigerum. 

WAR. 8 1 

Thirkell says it is "about two feet six inches long," while 
Backhouse speaks of it (p. 90) as a short "stick about an inch 
in thickness, brought suddenly to a conical point at each end 
and at one end a little roughened, to keep it from slipping out 
of the hand. This, they throw with a rotatory motion and with 
great precision." "The waddy was made of the lepiospermum 
and melaleuca^ the hard, heavy woods used for making spears" 
(Davies, p. 419); and, according to Hull (Proc. Roy. Soc. Van 
Diemen's Land, vol. i. p. 156), "The young wood of Pittosporum 
hicolor was formerly in high estimation among the aborigines of 
Tasmania, on account of its combined qualities of density, hard- 
ness, and tenacity, as the most suitable material of which to make 
their warlike implement the waddie." Bligh (p. 51) speaks of the 
natives being armed with a "a small stick, two or three feet long," 
which was probably a waddy. Breton (p. 356), Melville (p. 348), 
and the Van Diemen's Land Annual, 1834 (p. 78) also mention 
the waddy. 

According to Mortimer (p. 20), who met some natives on an 
expedition, " Mr. Cox made signs to one of them to throw his 
spear, which he did, to a considerable distance, and with a good 
deal of force; but I cannot conceive them to be a dangerous 
weapon." But, as we shall see, Mortimer is the only writer who 
doubted the effectiveness of the Tasmanians* weapons, although 
Wentworth does say of their spears (p. 116): "In using them 
they grasp the centre; but they neither throw them so far nor 
so dexterously as the natives of the parent colony " [New South 
Wales]. Mrs. Prinsep in her letters has the following statement 
(p. 80) : " You will not wonder at our anxiety to avoid a rencontre 
with them and their formidable spears ; a weapon they wield with 
deadly effect. We had seen six or seven kept as prisoners in 
Hobarton . . . They threw the spear for our amusement. This 
is merely a slender stick, nine or ten feet long, sharpened at the 
heaviest end ; they poise it for a few seconds in the hand, till it 
almost spins, by which means the spear flies with great velocity 
to the distance of sixty yards, and with unerring aim." Dixon 
(IL p. 23) speaks of the personal agility and dexterity of the 
natives in wielding their weapons; and Jeffrey says (p. 126): 
"They discharge the spear itself from their hands and are 
excellent marksmen." Regarding the distance to which they 
could throw their lances, Lloyd says (p. 45): "Forty yards was 
the extreme range of correct aim, with either spear or waddie, by 
the blacks of Tasmania." Breton (p. 353) says: "That they 



throw the spear by the hand alone, and yet will strike a small 
object at a distance of from forty to fifty yards," and of the 
waddy, it is "a formidable instrument, as it is sent with almost 
unerring aim, and with such force that any person struck by it 
would receive a dangerous contusion or even a severe wound. It 
can be thrown with ease forty yards, and in its progress through 
the air goes horizontally, describing the same kind of circular 
motion that the boomerang does, with the like whirring noise" 
{ibid,). Of the spear Calder says (Journ. p. 21): It "was thrown 
from the hand only, with great force and precision, having a range 
of, I believe, about sixty or seventy yards," and of the waddy, " It 
was held by the thinner end and was used either as a club or 
missile. Used for the latter purpose, it was hurled with awful 
force and certain aim." According to the anonymous author in 
the Van Diemen's Annual (1834, p. 78): "They are so extremely 
dexterous in the use of the spear, as seldom to miss a mark, even 
at a considerable distance ; and in managing their waddies also, 
they display great skill and prowess," while Melville (pp. 347-9) 
speaks as follows : " They were extremely dexterous in the use of 
the spear; in throwing these to a considerable distance, or in 
using them when spearing fish in the water, they seldom missed 
the object aimed at," and of their waddies : " These they would 
throw with considerable force and extraordinary dexterity." "In 
throwing the spear they are very expert" (Widowson, p. 190). 
" A shower of their spears, which they send through the air with 
a quivering motion, would be terribly destructive" (Backhouse, 
p. 172). Mr. Meredith, in describing the murder of one of his 
father's stockmen, named Gay, by the blacks, says: "About four 
hundred yards from the hut was a creek, in which the body of Gay 
was found, covered over with sticks; on being drawn out, many 
spear wounds were discovered, and one spear remained in one of 
the feet, having been driven through his thick boot-sole into the 
foot; but for this one spear, he might probably have escaped, 
being a very swift runner, and this fatal weapon must have struck 
him when flying at full speed from his murderers" (Home in 
Tasmania, p. 204). Ross mentions (p. 151), that on one occasion 
one of the stock-keepers was pursued by a party of natives, who 
" struck him as he ran with five or six spears," three of which 
" had struck him in the back," and " one especially had penetrated 
his loins several inches." When Peletega, a chief, was confined in 
Hobart Town Gaol, in the year 1830, "he took up an old broom 
stick, whilst standing at a distance of about twelve yards, threw it 

WAR. 83 

in the manner of casting a spear, right through a small hole, 
although the aperture was scarcely half an inch larger than the 
stick that passed through it. At another time, taking up a small 
bit of lath, which some gentlemen trying to throw could not cast 
half the distance, he struck it directly through and through the 
middle of a hat, set up thirty yards off" (Parker, p. 34). 

Of their inter-tribal wars, and the causes thereof, we have 
necessarily only the meagrest accounts. The Van Diemen's Land 
Annual (1834, p. 80) says: "They were perpetually engaged in 
conflicts between rival tribes, and we are told that these were 
frequently attended by fatal issues. . . . Some of these tribes are 
infinitely more savage . . . than others, and more skilled in the arts 
of war," and Milligan (Beacon, p. 26), "The numerous tribes of 
which the population of the island consisted were constantly at 
war with one another." Davis reports similarly (p. 419): "Each 
tribe occupied certain tracts of country, but they were constantly 
invading and at war with each other." But of course they were 
not always at war with each other, as Kelly's statement proves, 
" The natives far to the southward and westward take no part with 
the natives in the interior; those on the northern and eastern 
coasts do not take part with the tribes in the interior" (Kelly, 
p. 51). According to G. Robertson {ibid, pp. 47-48), the Oyster 
Bay mob were exterminated by the Port Dalrymple natives. The 
Oyster Bay and Big River tribes were hostile to the northern 
natives" {ibid). Of the cause of these wars we have not far to 
look, the chief cause being probably the pressing presence of the 
Colonists, as Melville (p. 349) states : " Ever after the arrival of the 
English, they were at war with each other — tribe against tribe; 
and this was owing to their having been forced to trespass on each 
other's hunting-grounds, being driven from their own by the white 
population." West, the historian, also ascribes the inter-tribal 
wars to this cause (II. p. 85). "The wars among them latterly, 
provoked by driving one tribe on the boundaries of another, were 
not infrequent ; as everywhere, women were the cause and object 
of strife. . . . Those [tribes] on the east of the Launceston Road 
were confederate. Towards the last, the Oyster Bay tribe com- 
mitted their children to the care of the Big River tribe, many of 
whom had been slain by the Western tribes, as well as by the 
English." Calder, who has gone through Robinson's voluminous 
reports, speaking of their internecine wars, says (Joum. pp. 24-25) : 
•* Animosities ran high amongst them, and their quarrels never 
died out except with the extinction of their enemies. They made 


long marches to surprise them ; and to come on them unperceived, 
if possible, was their constant object. But it was most difficult to 
approach them thus, the greatest circumspection being necessary, 
for such was their vigilance, that it was rare to catch them off their 
guard. . . . There seems to have been an hereditary feud between 
the men of the east and the west, and whenever their captor, 
Robinson, met them, they were either on the march to meet their 
ancient enemies, or were returning from a victory; for I do not 
recollect a single instance in which they ever acknowledged defeat. 
Their march was described to me as a very regular one, and that 
they stepped pretty well together, singing or shouting some war- 
chant, and rattling their spears as they went along, striking the 
ground with great force with the foot every third or fourth step. 
The look of each was determined and ferocious beyond expres- 
sion," and on p. 27: "The Big River and Oyster Bay tribes and 
the Stoney Creek tribe were the most ferocious and predatory of 
all the natives." 

*' If any quarrel took place among the men of the same tribe, it 
was the waddy that decided their affairs of honour" (Melville, 
P* 349)- "When they meet with the intention of fighting, it is the 
custom for one to receive a blow on the cranium, and then to return 
the blow on that of his adversary" (Breton, p. 355). "When they 
fight among themselves, the chief weapon is the waddy, which they 
flourish in the air for some time, with boisterous threats and 
gestures, and then fall to in good earnest. . . . Their skulls are 
thicker [stc] than those of Europeans. They had need be so, to 
receive the blows that are inflicted on these occasions, as they 
sometimes appear heavy enough to fell an ox [«V]" (Van Diemen's 
Land Annual, 1834, p. 78). 

The first Tasmanian blood spilled by Europeans occurred during 
Marion du Fresne*s exploring visit. His party had landed and 
established friendly relations with the natives. But "when M. 
Marion landed, a savage detached himself from the troop, and 
came to present him . . . with a fire brand to light a little pile. 
The captain, thinking it was a ceremony necessary to show that he 
came with peaceful intentions, did not hesitate to set fire to the 
pile; but it soon appeared to be quite the contrary, and, that 
accepting the brand signified the accepting of a challenge, or 
declaration of war. As soon as the pile was lighted, the savages 
retired precipitately on to a hill, from which they threw a shower 
of stones, wounding M. Marion and another officer with him. . . . 
Everybody re-embarked. . . . The savages conveyed their women 












WAR. 85 

and children into the woods, and followed the boats along the 
shore. When we wished to land, they opposed our doing so. 
One of them uttered a fearful cry, and immediately the whole 
troop discharged their pointed sticks, by which a black servant 
was wounded in the leg. The wound was not a great one, and the 
rapidity with which it healed proved that these javelins of wood 
were not poisoned. We replied to their shower of spears by firing, 
which wounded several and killed one. They fled into the woods, 
howling fearfully, carrying with them those who, being wounded, 
were unable to follow" (Marion, pp. 29-31). The next party to 
come to blows with them was P^ron's party, and on this occasion 
also the encounter seems to have been caused by a misunder- 
standing. He relates that, on one occasion, when they had un- 
wittingly given offence to a large body of aborigines by one of 
their number being wrestled with and overthrown by a middy 
named Maurouard, as they were in the act of re-embarking, ** all 
of a sudden a long spear, thrown from behind some neighbouring 
rocks, struck M. Maurouard in the shoulder; this rude weapon 
had been thrown with such force that, after slipping along the 
whole surface of the shoulder-blade, it opened a passage through 
the flesh of the shoulder and the neck. The crew . . . wished to 
pursue the savages in vengeance, but they had already disappeared 
among the rocks and brushwood. ... A few days afterwards, 
in another part of the channel [D'Entrecasteaux], there was a fresh 
attack, in which the savages rained a storm of pebbles down upon 
us ; fortunately no one was hit" (P6ron, ch. xii. p. 236). Another 
time he states: "A short time after our return, the Commander 
himself came back from a short excursion which he had gone to 
make on the mainland [Tasmania] with Captain Hamelin, MM. 
Lechenault and Petit. These gentlemen had again encountered 
the aborigines, and the interview had again terminated in a violent 
attack on the part of the latter. The fact was, M. Petit, having 
sketched several of the savages, the party was preparing, to return 
to the ship, when one of them [savages] threw himself upon the 
artist in order to take from him the drawings he had just made ; 
upon his trying to defend himself, the savage became furious and 
took up a log, with which he would have killed our weak com- 
panion, if the others had not run to his rescue. Far, however, 
from seeking to revenge such audacity, they were pleased to 
shower new presents upon the aggressor, in the hope, no doubt, 
of calming his fury by such generous conduct, and to gain the 
goodwill also of his fellow-countrymen; but hardly had these 


savage men seen our party occupied in re-embarking, than they 
re-entered the forest, and a moment afterwards there came a 
shower of stones, one of which struck the Commander in the back, 
causing a large and painful contusion. Our comrades, in spite 
of this treachery, did not wish to cease being magnanimous. It 
was in vain that the savages exposed themselves to their shots, by 
provoking them from the top of the bank they had just quitted ; 
vainly they brandished their spears and multiplied their threatening 
gestures ; not a single shot was fired at them. * These last 
hostilities,* says our botanist, M. Leschenault, *were committed 
by the aborigines without our having given them the slightest 
provocation ; on the contrary, we had loaded them with presents 
and kindnesses, and nothing in our conduct could have ofiended 
them.' . . . The morning after the attack I have just spoken of. 
Captain Hamelin started in his yawl to reconnoitre the bank, and 
approached sufficiently near to observe what was going on. It 
seemed that the event of the previous day had made the savages 
uneasy, or that they intended to attack us should we descend on 
their shores ; for the Captain saw thirty-six men marching along 
the shore, in squads of five or six individuals, one in each group 
of which carried a bundle of spears ; and at the head of this little 
army a man, with a flaming brand in his hand, set fire at intervals 
to the brushwood which covered the ground. Did this precaution 
seem necessary to them for observing us from a distance, or to 
take away from us the means of hiding ourselves and surprising 
them?" (ch. xii. pp. 237-239) 

Later on, " M. Freycinet and I landed to engage in some inter- 
course with the natives. Their ways on this cape seemed to be 
even wilder than those in the Channel . . . ; it was impossible to 
get near them ; at sight of us they all fled into the forest. . . . 
Having crossed the little bay, ... we saw a sight similar to that 
of which I have spoken at our entry into the north-east port. 
Black clouds of smoke rose on all sides ; the forest was everywhere 
on fire; the wild inhabitants of the region appeared to wish to 
drive us from their shores at this cost. They had retired on to a 
high mountain, which itself looked like an enormous pyramid of 
flame and smoke ; from this they made their shouts heard, and the 
assembly of individuals seemed numerous. ... As we approached 
the top of the mountain, the shouts redoubled, and we soon 
expected to be under the necessity of sustaining or repelling an 
attack. All of a sudden the cries ceased. We arrived, and saw 
with surprise that the aborigines had fled, abandoning their 

WAR. 87 

miserable huts. After having collected several weapons which 
they had forgotten, we followed this route for some time . . . 
without meeting a single one of the aborigines " (P6ron, ch. xii. 
pp. 244-246). Again, during another excursion, "We were about 
to land in order to pass the night, when we perceived a mob of 25 
or 30 savages, who, armed with long spears, advanced towards us 
with loud shouts. . . . We should have been obliged, with such 
hosts, to pass the night under arms ; we resolved, therefore, to go 
further up the bay, being convinced the savages would not follow 
us. In reality, they continued their route to the west, and soon 
disappeared" (P6ron, ch. xiii. p. 277). But on the last occasion 
of meeting an armed party at Oyster Bay, P^ron's company landed 
and found fourteen savages collected around a large fire, and who 
received him with friendship. " They were armed for the most 
part with long spears ; the others had clubs in their hands ; these 
they deposited by their side" (ch. xiii. p. 278). 

After these accounts of Marion and P6ron, and allowing on the 
other hand for the fact that Cook's party had none but friendly 
intercourse with them, it sounds strange to read as follows in 
Wentworth (pp. 1 16-117): "They have seldom or never been 
known to act on the ofiensive, except when they have met some of 
their persecutors singly. Two persons armed with muskets may 
traverse the island from one end to the other in the most perfect 
safety." However this might have been, perhaps, after all, the real 
cause of the later hostility of the aborigines was due to the un- 
fortunate encounter on the 3rd May, 1804, when about five hundred 
blacks, "supposed to have belonged to the Oyster Bay tribe, 
gathered on the hills which overlooked the camp. . . . The 
convicts and soldiers were drawn up to oppose them. A discharge 
of firearms threw them into momentary panic, but they soon 
re-united. A second, of ball cartridge, brought down many ; the 
rest fled in terror, and were pursued. . . . William White , who saw 
them earliest, and gave notice of their approach, declared they then 
exhibited no hostility. They came down in a semicircle, carrying 
waddies, but not spears ; a flock of kangaroos hemmed in between 
them. The women and children attended them. They came 
singing, and bearing branches of trees " (West, II. p. 6). From 
what we know regarding their disposal of the women and children 
when hostilely inclined, it is safe to say that this party of aborigines 
was approaching with friendly intentions. 

Perhaps the following account by Calder, compiled from the 
sources already mentioned, gives the best conception of the 


methods and tactics adopted by the aborigines in their final 
straggle with the Europeans. This account appears in the Joum. 
Anth. Inst. 1873, pp. 7-1 1, and we supplement it by important 
extracts from other sources. ** Tribal dissensions, causing mutual 
destruction (for such were their jealousies and hatreds, that they 
fought one another all the time they were thrashing the whites), 
contributed to their decrease in some degree. . . . Beyond all 
doubt, they [the settlers] were no match for the blacks in bush- 
fighting, either in defensive or offensive operations. ... If it 
had been possible to bring the savage into fair and open fight, 
with something like equal numbers, this would have been reversed. 
But the black assailant was far too acute and crafty an enemy to 
be betrayed into this style of contest, and never fought till he 
knew he had his opponents at a disadvantage to themselves. 
He waited and watched for his opportunity for hours, and often 
for days, and when the proper moment arrived, he attacked the 
solitary hut of the stock -keeper, or the hapless traveller whom 
he met in the bush, with irresistible numbers, taking life generally 
singly, but often ; the largest number I read of his destroying 
on one occasion being four persons. In these assaults on the 
dwellings of his enemy he contrived his attacks so cleverly as 
to insure success at least five times in six, and if forced to abandon 
his enterprise, his retreat, with few exceptions, was a bloodless 
one. The natives so managed their advance on the point of 
attack as not to be seen until they were almost close to the 
dwelling of their victim. They distinguished between a house 
and a hut, and seldom approached the former. . . . They never 
attacked except in parties of twenty, fifty, a hundred, or even 
greater numbers. Their mode of assaulting a dwelling when there 
were several inmates at home, which they knew by previous 
watching, was to divide into small gangs of five, ten, or more, 
each concealing itself, . . . their approach being so quiet as to 
create no suspicion of their presence, to which the woody and 
uneven nature of the country is eminently favourable. Then one 
of these parties, which was prepared for instant retreat, made its 
presence known, either by setting fire to some shed or bush fence, 
or by sending a flight of spears in at the window, shouting their 
well-known war-whoop at the same time. This never failed of 
bringing out the occupants, who, seeing the authors of the 
outrage, now at a safe distance, but in an attitude of defiance, 
incautiously pursued them. . . . The blacks then retreated just 
as quickly as the others advanced, keeping out of gunshot, and 

WAR. 89 

defying them, generally in good English, to come on. . . . Having 
decoyed their pursuers to a safe distance into the woods, and 
generally with rising ground between them and the hut, the 
others sprang from their cover, and rushing into the place, 
plundered it of its contents, often finishing their work by burning 
it to its foundations ; first, however, killing or leaving for dead, 
any unfortunate persons — mostly a mother and her children — who 
chanced to be left behind. They then fled with their booty, re- 
uniting with the decoy party at some distant point. In their first 
systematized assaults . . . their principal object was murder, but 
in later times, plunder. . . . They took everything that was useful, 
and often what was of no use at all to them, . . . such, for 
example, as clocks, workboxes, etc. . . . But provisions of all 
sorts, and, above all, blankets, firearms, and ammunition, were the 
articles they prized most ; of which latter they eventually surren- 
dered many stand to the Government, pistols, muskets, fowling- 
pieces, powder and ball, all perfectly clean and dry, and in 
excellent order. Of these latter it was found that they knew not 
only the use, but were also practised in using them ; but there 
is no instance of their bringing them into the field, though they 
afterwards assured Mr. Robinson that they meant to have done 
so, but to the last they seem to have preferred their own arms in 
both fight and chase — namely, the spear and waddy. . . . Notwith- 
standing the ancient customs of the blacks, not to permit the 
women to take any part in active war, these individuals could 
not be restrained from joining in and sometimes leading the 
attack. One of these persons, ... a woman of one of the East 
Coast tribes, . . . planned and executed nearly every outrage that 
was committed in the districts bordering on the north and north- 
western coast. In the days of their decay, she collected the 
poor remnants of several tribes into one hostile band, of whom 
she was the leader and chieftainess." On p. 20, ihid.y Calder 
continues : " They never permitted their wives or children to 
accompany them in their war expeditions, either against the 
whites or enemies of their own race, but left them in places of 
security or concealment," and on pp. 21-22, xhid.\ "The Tas- 
manian aboriginal, in advancing on an unsuspecting victim whom 
he meant to kill treacherously, approached apparently quite un- 
armed, with his hands clasped, and resting on the top of his 
head, a favourite posture of the black, and with no appearance 
of a hostile intention. But all the time he was dragging a spear 
behind him, held between his toes, in a manner that must have 


taken long to acquire. Then, by a motion as unexpected as it 
was rapid, it was transferred to the hand, and the victim pierced 
before he could lift a hand or stir a step." 

Regarding these surprise tactics, in a long account of the 
hostilities carried on between the natives and a man named 
Thomas Tucker, Calder (Wars, pp. 99-100) narrates the following: 
"The Cape Portland tribe were still here, though not close to 
the harbour. But as day advanced some indications of their 
approach, which no European would observe, reached the ears 
of the black woman [an ally with Tucker] ; but she said 

nothing The land, all along the north-eastern shores, 

is very open, so that with the commonest vigilance there was 
no danger of any sudden surprise. All at once, however, the 
woman started and whispered to Tucker, 'Here are the black 
fellows,* pointing at them at the same time. He looked round 
just in time to see the head of one of them peering at them 
over a low rise, which was withdrawn directly, and not a vestige 
of the hundreds who were creeping stealthily on them, to 
surround them, was to be seen. Our natives managed their 
attacking movements with uncommon skill, and hundreds are the 
instances of their surrounding dwellings, in perfect swarms, with- 
out their exciting the smallest suspicion of their being at hand. 
No more subtle race could be than the Tasmanian savages." 
Similarly ; ** In several instances, the lives of white people were 
saved by the native women, who would often steal away from the 
tribe to give notice of an intended attack. On one occasion, one 
of our boat's crew had landed for the night on the shore of Great 
Swan Port, made their preparations for supper, and lighted a fire, 
when two native women came stealthily to them, warning them 
to hurry away, as the tribe was hidden behind the nearest bank, 
only waiting till the moon rose to make a descent upon them. 
Accordingly, the men hastily gathered up their paraphernalia, 
and decamped to their boat, but had scarcely pushed out into 
deep water before they saw the enemy come stealing down, one 
black figure after another gliding past their fire, evidently with the 
intention of surrounding them" (Meredith, p. 201). Laplace's 
accounts run to the same tune : " When the dwelling which 
they desire to ransack appears to them too large, or too well 
guarded to be attacked by the ordinary means, that is, by 
surprise, or violent force favoured by the darkness, then they 
employ a patience and a cunning truly diabolical. . . . The 
farmer, in spite of his restless vigilance, often passes close to 

WAR. 91 

the trunks of trees without perceiving the savages, who now, 
drawn back against the branches blackened by the flames, or 
now, imitating by their attitude and perfect immobility those 
which the axe has cut off", await, often during whole days, the 
moment when he sets out, with all his convicts, to work in the 
fields. Hardly has he gone away, before they surround his farm, 
massacre his wife and children without pity, and have already 
conveyed their booty far away, when the flames, rushing above 
the buildings, foretell to the unfortunate colonist the extent of 
his misfortune. The aborigines do not wait always to shed the 
blood of Europeans till a project for ravaging some house has 
brought them together. Often one among them approaches 
inhabited places alone, glides along the palisades protecting 
the houses, till just by the lower room where the family of the 
proprietor is assembled. In an instant, his body is pierced by 
a spear, and his wife, as well as the child which she held to her 
breast, fell also, stricken dead by an invisible hand. The blood- 
thirsty savage, having satisfied his cruelty, disappears into the 
woods, and rejoins his tribe. ... A convict, employed in guarding 
flocks, whose barbarity the natives had experienced more than 
once, was traversing the forest with a companion. He encountered 
a native, who, hidden behind the trees, threw a spear at him, 
missed him, and took to flight. The convict, exasperated, pursued 
and overtook him, and, after an obstinate struggle, the Van 
Piemen's Lander, his head fractured by the blows of the club, 
was left for dead upon the ground; but hardly had the victor 
taken a few steps, before his victim raised himself, armed himself 
with a new spear, pierced with it the heart of his enemy, and 
disappeared into the thickest part of the wood" (Laplace, IH. 
ch. xviii. pp. i97-i9g). "The blacks, when they came in secret 
to attack a hut, always did so by ambuscade, watching whole days 
and nights together for an opportunity to pounce upon their prey. 
And even should they approach openly, with a hostile intention, 
they still did so under the cloak of friendship, coming up from 
different sides, and dragging their long spears, held between their 
toes, unperceived, through the grass, so as to have those deadly 
weapons ready at a moment's warning to dart upon their victim " 
(Ross, p. 87). 

In the case of the massacre of the Hooper family : ** A black 
woman some time after told the whole of their plans and schemes 
to achieve this terrible murder : she said that a party of them had 
for three days kept watch unseen on one of the rocky hills close to 


the cottage, intending to wait there until Hooper went out to work 
without his gun. . . . One unhappy day he did go out without it, 
and instantly the descent was made and the massacre effected with 
the terrible success they anticipated" (Meredith, ch. xii. p. 212). 
The first white man who was murdered by the natives was George 
Munday : ** the native had a spear concealed and held by his toes, 
and, as Munday turned from him, he caught up his spear and 
threw it at him" (Knopwood, p. 53 ; Parker, p. 28). This cunning 
is well summed up in Colonel Arthur's Despatch (Colonies and 
Slaves, p. 61): "Although their [the natives'] natural timidity still 
prevents them from openly attacking even two armed persons, 
however great their number, yet they will, with a patience quite 
inexhaustible, watch a cottage or a field for days together, imtil 
the unsuspecting inhabitants afford some opening, of which the 
savages instantly avail themselves, and suddenly spear to death 
the defenceless victims of their indiscriminate vengeance. . . . 
Two Europeans who will face them will drive fifty savages before 
them, but still they return and watch until their unerring spears 
can bring some victim to the ground," and further, in Minutes 
Exec. Council {ibid. p. 63) : " The Council cannot but remember 
the repeated proofs it has had before it of the skill with which the 
natives have availed themselves of the facilities presented to them 
... to make their hostile approaches unperceived, of their 
patience in watching for days the habitation of those whom 
they design to attack, and of the frightful celerity with which 
they avail themselves of any unguarded moment to fall upon 
the inmates and put them to a cruel death; nor can it forget 
those instances in which they have effected their purpose by 
means of the most consummate and deliberate treachery, by 
sending some of their people, sometimes women, sometimes 
unarmed men, who have approached huts with apparently the 
most friendly disposition, and have succeeded in engaging the 
attention of the inmates, or in alluring some of them to a 
distance, and thus enabling their armed confederates to fall 
suddenly upon their unsuspecting victims and destroy them." 
" The facility and rapidity with which they moved to some secret 
hiding-place, after committing any atrocity, rendered pursuit in 
most instances fruitless" (Memorandum, ibid, p, 72). 

Against this, what may be called the silent system of attack, 
there are a few records of a party of natives declaring open 
hostility. In narrating one of his pursuits of the hostile aborigines, 
Robinson says : ** * The wild natives had assembled on the opposite 

WAR. 93 

bank of the river. Here they continued to exhibit the most violent 
gestures, and were exceedingly boisterous in their declamations, 
threatening to cross the river and massacre us.' Robinson also 
learned that it was their intention to have killed the whole of the 
party except the women. But for himself was reserved a special 
fate, namely, the mutilation and burning of his body, *and my 
ashes,' he says, *made into Ray-dee or Num-re-mur-he-kee,' />. 
amulets to be worn by the natives" (Calder, Wars, p. 70). The 
natives invariably run away if one man be shot ; an instance of this 
happened at the Coal River; the body was left, but a wounded 
man was taken away (Hobbs, p. 50). In their mode of warfare, 
"Parties in pursuit can only come upon them in the morning 
by watching their smokes ; they leave their women and children 
behind them, when they go upon their plundering excursions; 
they are more shy and diflBcult to come up with than the 
kangaroo" (Hobbs, p. 50). On one occasion Robertson was 
within four miles of them for four days near the Blue Hills ; 
they beat round and round him like a hare ; he had natives with 
him, who had been captured, to trace them, and whom he 
could trust. In July he was upon the track of from 100 to 200 
natives at the Blue Hills ; he supposed there were two tribes, 
one party going towards Oyster Bay, the other towards the 
westward; the party he followed to the westward suddenly 
disappeared, and he did not know by what means they hid their 
tracks. He continues: "They cannot be surrounded by several 
parties coming upon them ; they have no rendezvous except where 
game is plentiful ; they go over the whole island ; they always 
keep regular sentries, and pass over the most dangerous grounds, 
and by the brinks of the most dangerous precipices ; they leave 
their women and children behind them, and send out parties to 
commit depredations; . . . the natives do not move by night; 
they are afraid of the moon" (p. 47). West, the historian, gives 
the following accounts of hostile encounters with the natives: 
" In the estimation of Europeans their practice in war was savage 
or cowardly; *they do not, like an Englishman,' complained a 
colonial writer, * give notice before they strike.' The perfection of 
war, in their esteem, was ambush and surprise ; but an intelligent 
observer sometimes saw considerable cleverness in their tactics. 
Mr. Franks was on horseback, driving cattle homeward; he saw 
eight blacks forming a line behind him, to prevent his retreat, 
each with an uplifted spear, beside a bundle in the left hand. 
They then dropped on one knee, still holding the weapon in 


menace ; then they rose and ran towards him in exact order ; while 
they distracted his attention by their evolutions, other blacks 
gathered from all quarters, and within thirty yards a savage stood 
with his spear quivering in the air. This weapon, ten feet long, 
penetrated the flap of the saddle, and the flesh of the horse four 
inches, which dropped on his hind quarters. The rider was in 
despair ; but the spear fell, and the animal recovered his feet and 
fled. The servant, less fortunate than his master, was found some 
days after, slain. The attack was well planned, and exhibited all 
the elements of military science. A tribe, who attacked the 
premises of Mr. Jones, in 1819, at the Macquarie, were led by a 
chief six [stc'] feet high ; he carried one spear, of a peculiar form, 
and no other kind of weapon ; this he did not use, but stood aloof 
from the rest, and issued his orders with great calmness, which 
were implicitly obeyed. They formed themselves into a half moon 
ring, and attacked the English with great vigour. The chief was 
shot ; they were struck with dismay, and endeavoured to make him 
stand; 'they made a frightful noise, looked up to heaven, and 
smote their breasts.' " West also relates : " A party, under Major 
Grey, went out in pursuit ; overtook a few blacks ; one was seized ; 
but was so smeared with grease, that he slipped through the 
hands of his captors. . . . They were bold and warlike in their 
carriage, and when exhibiting spear exercise, commanded the 
admiration of the spectator." 

"After killing a white man, the natives have a sort of dance 
and rejoicing, jumping and singing, and sending forth the strangest 
noises ever heard. They do not molest the body when dead, 
nor have I heard of their stripping or robbing the deceased" 
(Widowson, p. 191). Other authorities, however, do not agree 
with Widowson as regards the non-mutilation of the dead. Calder 
expressly states (Journ. p. 21): "In fight, the vengeance of the 
savage was not appeased by the death of an enemy. The 
mutilation of the body, and particularly of the head, always 
followed, unless the victor was surprised or apprehended surprise. 
This was done either by dashing heavy stones at the corpse, or 
beating it savagely with the waddie." When Mr. Meredith's father's 
stockman was killed, "All his finger-joints were broken, and his 
body brutally mutilated, according to the usual custom of the 
blacks, when not hurried or disturbed in their deeds of horror" 
(ch. xii.); and when the Hooper family was killed, the same 
author gives the following account : at " the cottage, where, lying 
all around, frightfully mangled and full of spears, were the dead 

WAR. 95 

bodies of Hooper, his wife, and all their children. They had 
hammered their bones in pieces, broken their fingers, etc., etc." 

Occasionally they seem to have spared women ; thus Backhouse 
mentions the following incident : " We passed the remains of a hut 
that was burnt about two years ago, by the aborigines of the Ouse 
or Big River district. An old man named Clark lost his life in it, 
but a young woman escaped ; she rushed from the fire and fell on 
her knees before the natives, one of whom extinguished the flames 
which had caught her clothes, and beckoned to her to go away. 
They killed a woman on the hill behind the hut. A few weeks 
after they surrounded the house of G. Dixon, who received a spear 
thrpugh his thigh, in running from a bam to his house" (p. 30). 
Calder states (Wars, p. 56) : "They [the aborigines] were naturally 
opposed to taking the life of a female." ... A Mrs. Cunningham 
having been murdered by Le-ner-e-gle-lang-e-ner, chief of the 
Piper's River tribe, " a Cape Portland native, who was staying at 
the time with the Piper's River fellows, . . . when he heard of the 
death of this woman, spoke very disapprovingly of it, adding that 
* the men of his tribe never killed a white woman.' " If, on the 
one hand, there was an inclination on the part of some males to 
spare white females, so there was on the other hand a disposition 
on the part of the Tasmanian females to save life where possible. 
We have already seen in this chapter two cases where the native 
women did so save life; and with regard to the murder of Mr. 
Parker and Captain Thomas, Calder says : " The demeanour of the 
women . . . was only what they always displayed on occasions 
like this. They were seldom present at a fight, unless it was an 
unexpected one, being always left behind, as many have thought, 
for their safety, but really because their presence was embarrassing 
to their husbands; for, with rare exceptions, they were against 
excessive violence being done; and it would not be difficult to 
give instances where their interposition in stopping it was more 
successful than it was at this time" (Wars, p. 83). 

No account says anything of a boomerang, and West states they 
had no throwing sticks (II. p. 84). 




Strange as it may appear, the natives were at one time supposed 
by the colonists to have been unacquainted with the art of making 
fire I Calder declares (Joum. pp. 19-20) : **They were ignorant 
of any method of procuring fire." Dove makes a similar statement, 
only he uses more words to say it in (I. p. 250), and Backhouse 
(p. 99) ** learned that the aborigines of Van Diemen's Land had no 
artificial method of obtaining fire, before their acquaintance with 
Europeans ; they say they obtained it first from the sky — probably 
meaning by lightning." This error has been widely diffused, 
although there is ample evidence to show, that not only did the 
Tasmanians know how to procure fire, but also tending to show, 
that they had a knowledge of procuring it by means of two quite 
distinct methods. Foumeaux found in one of the huts (Cook's 
Sec. Voy. Bk. I. ch. vii.) "the stone they strike fire with, and 
tinder made of bark, but of what tree could not be distinguished." 
La Billardi^re (L ch. v. p. 222) met with baskets containing 
" pieces of flint and fragments of the bark of a tree as soft as the 
best tinder. These savages, undoubtedly, procure themselves fire 
by striking two pieces of flint together." Mortimer relates (p 20) 
that in some of the baskets were a few flints and stones, and a little 
dried grass ; from which circumstance I conclude they produce fire 
by collision." On the other hand, Davies (p. 419) was informed 
that they obtained it by rubbing round rapidly in their hands a 
piece of hard pointed stick, the pointed end being inserted into a 
notch in another piece of dry wood." James Scott also says that 
they knew how to make fire " by friction of two pieces of wood *' 
(Papers, Roy. Soc. Tas. July, 1873). "They procured fire from the 
friction of a stick, rapidly moved between the palms of their hands, 
with the point bedded in a piece of soft bark ; but as it was difficult 
at times to obtain fire by this means, especially in wet weather, 
they generally, in their peregrinations, carried with them a fire- 
stick, lighted at their last encampment" (Melville, p. 347). Their 

FIRE. 97 

fire-Sticks consisted in pieces of decayed wood lighted at one end 
and burning slowly (La Billardidre, II. ch. x. pp. 26-63), or of a 
"sort of lighted bark torch" (P^ron, p. 220). Mrs. Meredith says, 
that when the natives crossed over to Maria Island, " they provided 
a little raised platform on the raft, on which they carried some 
lighted fuel to kindle their fire when they arrived there" (p. 139). 
" They always made very small fires, and from a peculiar art in 
laying the sticks, the smoke, in calm weather, would rise like a 
coiling pillar; few, if any, of the whites could imitate them in this 
respect, and native fires were, at all times, easily distinguished from 
tkose of bushrangers, or settlers exploring or hunting" (Melville, 
P- 346). 

The following is the legend of the origin of fire and of the 
Apotheosis of two Heroes, by the aborigines of Tasmania, as 
related by a native of the Oyster Bay Tribe : ** My father, my grand- 
father, all of them lived a long time ago, all over the country ; 
tkey had no fire. Two black fellows came, they slept at the foot 
of a hill — a hill in my own country. On the summit of a hill 
tbey were seen by my fathers, my countrymen, on the top of the 
hill they were seen standing: they threw fire like a star, — it fell 
among the black men, my countrymen. They were frightened — 
they fled away, all of them; after a while they returned, — they 
hastened and made a fire, — a fire with wood ; no more was fire lost 
m our land. The two black fellows are in the clouds; in the 
dear night you see them like two stars.* These are they who 
hrought fire to my fathers. The two black men stayed awhile in 
the land of my fathers. Two women {Lowanna) were bathing ; 
it was near a rocky shore, where mussels were plentiful. The 
women were sulky, they were sad ; their husbands were faithless, 
they had gone with two girls. The women were lonely ; they were 
swimming in the water, they were diving for cray fish. A sting- 
ay lay concealed in the hollow of a rock — a large sting-ray ! The 
iting-ray was large, he had a very long spear ; from his hole he 
ipied the women, he saw them dive; he pierced them with his 
ipear, — he killed them, he carried them away. Awhile they were 
fone out of sight. The sting-ray returned, he came close in 
ihore, he lay in still water, near the sandy beach ; with him were 
the women, they were fast on his spear — they were dead ! 

The two black men fought the sting-ray; they slew him with 
Aeir spears ; they killed him ; — the women were dead ! The two 

' Castor and Pollux. 


black men made a fire, — a fire of wood. On either side they laid 
a woman, — the fire was between : the women were dead I 

The black men sought some ants, some blue ants {puggany 
epiiettd) ; they placed them on the bosoms {parugga potngta) of 
the women. Severely, intensely were they bitten. The women 
revived, — they lived once more. Soon there came a fog {maynen- 
iayana\ a fog dark as night. The two black men went away, 
the women disappeared : they passed through the fog, the thick, 
dark fog! Their place is in the clouds. Two stars you see in 
the clear cold night ; the two black men are there, the women 
are with them : they are stars above ! " (Milligan, Papers, etc., 
Roy. Soc. of Tas. III. p. 274). 


With regard to European food Cook says : " When some bread 
was given them, as soon as they understood it was to be eaten, they 
returned or threw it away, without tasting it " (Third Voy. Bk. I. 
ch. vi. p. 39). On one occasion La Billardi^re's party left them 
some ships' food, and he thus reports the result: ** It appeared 
that they had made use of the bread and water which had been 
left for them on the preceding day ; but the smell of the cheese 
had probably given them no inclination to taste it, as it was found 
in the same condition in which it had been deposited" (ch. v. 
p. 225). Later on he tells us: **We did not know to what to 
ascribe their repugnance to our viands, but they would taste none 
that we offered them. They would not even suffer their children 
to eat the sugar we gave them, being very careful to take it out of 
their mouths the moment they were going to taste it " (11. ch. x. 
p. 47). Nor did the natives originally like spirits, for the same 
Frenchman relates (II. ch. x. p. 39): "One of the sailors, that 
accompanied us, thought he could not regale them better than 
with a glass of brandy ; but, accustomed to drink nothing but 
water, they quickly spit it out, and it seemed to have given them 
a very disagreeable sensation." During the war, according to Mr. 
O'Connor (Colonies and Slaves, p. 55): "The chief thing they 
want is bread, and they prefer getting a sack of flour by robbing a 
hut to hunting oppossums." And Thirkell says they ** were much 
pleased to get potatoes from the white people." ** None of the 
sheep killed by the savages were eaten; spears were left in 
some of them" (Espre, p. 47); but this statement is not quite 
correct. " They wantonly kill sheep, but never eat them*" 

FOOD. 99 

(Brodribb, p. 52). "The natives frequently have speared sheep, 
and if they were taught to skin them, would soon eat them" 
(O'Connor, Colonies and Slaves, p. 55). The natives did not care 
for European cooking, for according to La Billardi^re, " Wp 
invited them [the natives] to eat with us some oysters and 
lobsters which we had just roasted on the coals ; but they all 
refused, one excepted, who tasted a lobster. At first, we 
imagined that it was yet too early for their meal time, but in this 
we were mistaken, for it was not long before they took their 
repast. They themselves, however, dressed their food, which 
was shell-fish of the same kinds, but much more roasted than 
what we had offered them.** 

Regarding their appetites, O'Connor (pp. 54-55) says: "They 
have very great appetites ; saw a child of eight months old, then 
at the breast, eat a whole kangaroo rat, and then attack a craw- 
fish.** In the Van Diemen's Land Almanac for 1834 (p. 78) it is 
stated they devour their food "with greediness.** Dixon (p. 22) 
speaks of their food being "devoured voraciously,** and says, "As 
their subsistence was precarious, their gluttony was great;" and 
Widowson (p. 190) writes of them: "They eat voraciously, and 
are very little removed from the brute creation as to choice of 
food, entrails, etc., sharing the same chance as the choicest parts.*' 
But Davis, to a certain extent, explains their voracity as follows : — 
"They were often a long time without food, and then ate it in 
large quantities. When they are short of food, they tighten a 
string of kangaroo sinews, which they wear round their middle. 
The enormous quantity of food which they are capable of eating, 
when they have an opportunity, would scarcely be credited. A 
native woman, at the settlement at Flinders Island, was one day 
watched by one of the officers, and seen to eat between fifty and 
sixty eggs of the * sooty petrel * {proceilaria, sp.), besides a double 
allowance of bread : these eggs exceed those of a duck in size " 
(p. 414). At one of the meetings of the Royal Society of 
Tasmania the following remarks bearing on the aboriginals' 
pHDwer of gorging were reported: — "Mr. Ogilby stated it to be 
no uncommon circumstance for an individual [of the aborigines], 
at a single meal, to eat 12 lbs. of meat, and wash it down with 
a gallon of train oil. These were, however, only occasional 
gorges. Mr. Breton observed that Mr. Ogilby must surely have 
meant his remarks to apply to the aborigines of some other 
country, as those of Tasmania never had the opportunity of 
obtaining irain oil** (Tasm. Joum. III. p. 238). There seems 




little doubt that they lived upon all the animals they could 
kill. Davis says (p. 413): "With respect to the general nature 
of their food, that depends in a great measure on their 
locality. The western portion of the island is more mountainous, 
wet and thickly wooded than the rest ; kangaroos are more difficult 
to obtain, and the natives live, consequently, more on shell-fish, 
than on the eastern coast; these are principally the haliotis and 
crayfish, which they obtain by diving. . . . The tribes in the 
interior subsist upon kangaroos, wallaby, and opossums; more 
particularly the latter." Where Bass and Flinders landed they 
** fell in with many huts along the shores of the river, . . . but with 
fewer heaps of mussel shells lying near them. The natives of this 
place probably draw the principal part of their food from the 
woods ; the bones of small animals, such as opossums, squirrels, 
kangaroo-rats, and bandicoots, were numerous round their deserted 
fire-places" (Collins, p. 188). P^ron found in one place, near 
some huts, remains of kangaroos and birds (ch. xii. p. 243), and 
Milligan says (Beacon, p. 26), "They lived chiefly on animal food ; 
the kangaroo, wallaby, bandicoot, kangaroo-rat, the opossum, and 
the wombat ; nearly every bird and bird's ^%% that could be pro- 
cured, and in the case of tribes near the sea, cray-fish and shell- 
fish, formed the staple articles of their diet." "The craw-fish and 
oysters, if immediately on the coast, are their principal food. 
Opossums and kangaroos may be said to be their chief support " 
(Widowson, p. 190). Cook found they were fond of birds (Third 
Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.), and Flinders mentions that meeting with 
a native and offering him a black swan, "it was accepted with 
rapture" (sec. iv. p. 187). "All of them were particularly fond of 
the flesh of the deadly snakes and the guana" (Melville, p. 3+6). 
Backhouse mentions that the natives so abhor fat that " they even 
reject bread cut with a buttery knife," and on some soup being 
offered them, "they skimmed the floating fat off with their hands, 
and smeared their hair with it, but would not drink the soup ! " 
(p. 166). He also says (p. 171), " Several wallabies were killed by 
the natives who accompanied us. Some of these people only eat 
male animals, others only the females. We were unable to learn 
the reason of this, but they so strictly adhere to the practice, that, 
it is said, hunger will not drive them to depart from it." These 
statements about the native dislike to fat, and the eating of wal- 
labies, are repeated by Davies (p. 414). "When at Moulting Bay, 
... we counted fifty-six black swans, in pairs. . . . Formerly, a 
tribe of aborigines resorted regularly to this neighbourhood, at this 



FOOD. 101 

season of the year, to collect swans' eggs" (Backhouse, p. 219). 
Speaking of the large white grubs, which were found in old dead 
or dying trees, Mrs. Meredith tells us, ** The aborigines eat them 
greedily and I have heard that some English people do so, and say 
they taste like nuts or almonds" (p. 232). Melville also says 
(p. 346) : " The wood grub was to them a great delicacy." Davies 
mentions that (p. 414) "A large white caterpillar, about two inches 
in length, found in rotten wood and in the Bankst'a, together with 
the eggs of the large ants, are considered luxuries." 

Although Holman (IV. ch. xii. p. 405) speaks of "their expertness 
in spearing the finny tribe," it appears most probable that they 
never touched scale fish. Melville (p. 346) certainly says : " Those 
near the sea-shore lived almost entirely upon fish ; " but then he 
makes in the context no reference to shell-fish, and from what 
follows he probably means the latter. Lloyd states most em- 
phatically (p. 51): "Throughout my hunting experience with 
the aborigines, I never saw them capture an edible fish excepting 
of the shelly species." Collins, describing Bass's discoveries 
(ch. XV. p. 169), while speaking of the shell -mounds, says: "No 
remains of fish were ever seen." Rossel (I. ch. iv. p. 56), 
speaking likewise of the mounds, says : " We perceived, moreover, 
no debris of fishes;" but La Billardi^re says (IL ch. xi. p. 77): 
**They acquainted us that they lived upon fish cis well as the 
other inhabitants of Cape Diemen." The reader will notice that 
La Billardi^re does not say they lived on fish, only that they 
said they did. Cook reports (Third Voy. Bk. L ch. vi. p. 39) : 
"They also refused some elephant fish, both raw and cooked." 
And, finally, in describing the settlement at Flinders Island, 
Calder says (Joum. p. 16): "Of shell fish there were few or 
none, and no other fish would any native of Tasmania ever 
touch . . . ; they would rather starve than eat it." 

Their method of eating is thus described by La Billardi^re: 
"About noon we saw them [forty-eight savages] prepare their 
repast. Hitherto we had had but a faint idea of the pains the 
women take to prepare the food requisite for the subsistence of 
their families. They quitted the water only to bring their husbands 
tne fruits of their labour, and frequently returned almost directly to 
their diving, till they had procured a sufficient meal for their 
families. At other times, they stayed a little while to warm them- 
selves, with their faces towards the fire on which their fish was 
roasting, and other little fires burning behind them, that they 
might be warmed on all sides at once. It seemed as if they were 


unwilling to lose a moment's time, for while they were warming 
themselv^, they were employed in roasting fish ; some of which 
they laid on the coals with the utmost caution : though they took 
little care of the lobsters, which they threw anywhere into the 
fire, and when they were ready, they divided the claws among the 
men and children, reserving the body for themselves, which they 
sometimes ate before returning to the water. Their husbands 
remained constantly near the fire, feasting on the best bits, and 
eating broiled Fucus, or fern roots. Occasionally, they took the 
trouble to break boughs of trees into short pieces, to feed the 
fire. Their meal had continued a long time and we were much 
surprised that not one of them had yet drank ; (^iX this they 
deferred till they were fully satisfied with eating. The women and 
girls then went to fetch water with vessels of sea-weed \_Fucus 
palmatus], getting it at the first place they came to, and setting 
it down by the men, who drank it without ceremony, although it 
was very muddy and stagnant. They then finished their repast " 
(II. ch. X. pp. 57-60). 

Ross, describing a visit paid him by sixty aborigines, says: 
"They made a small cooking fire on an eminence behind my 
cottage, and squatting round it by turns, while others walked 
about and hunted here and there, they continued cooking and 
eating, more or less, from nine o'clock in the morning to about 
four in the afternoon, when they all of a sudden . . . rushed 
into the broadest and deepest part of the river in front of my 
cottage, and splashed and gambolled about for at least an 
hour." On another occasion his old visitors, the blacks, re- 
appeared. " They encamped on the same spot they had formerly 
done. About an hour before sunset, the hunters having returned 
home, some with one opossum, others with two or three kangaroo- 
rats or bandicoots. . . . They had begun cooking, and had nearly 
finished dinner, for these aborigines I found were quite fashionable 
as to their dinner hour, as well as classical in adopting the Roman 
method of reclining at meals, lying round their fire, resting on one 
elbow, and holding the half-roasted leg of an opossum eating in 
the other. They evidently knew the advantage of not overdoing 
their roast meat, but, by the process they adopted, retained all the 
best of the gravy. The flames of the fire having burned down, the 
animals, with all their natural coats upon them, were thrown on the 
live embers, occasionally turned from side to side, till not only all 
the fur was singed off, but the entire carcass tolerably well done 
throughout. It was then taken off, cut up with a sharp flint or 


FOOD. 103 

stone, or, if their intercourse with Europeans had enabled them to 
procure that march of civilization — a piece of glass — quartered and 
disjointed. Occasionally they would dip the savoury flesh into the 
alkali ashes of the fire, instead of salt, before putting it to their 
mouth. As I stood with my little child watching with much 
interest this aboriginal scene, their natural politeness was con- 
stantly urging me to partake with them, and, not to disoblige 
them, both I and my child each took a nicely-cooked leg of a 
kangaroo-rat in our hands. Not liking, however, to eat it down, 
>irith my best expressions of gratitude I moved gradually away till I 
reached my house, when I gave the pieces to Danger and Juno 
[the dogs]" (Ross, pp. 146 and 153-154). In this account it will 
be noticed that the natives made use of a substitute for salt, an 
article which is not referred to by any other writer. Backhouse's 
account of a meal off a kangaroo-rat, witnessed by him, runs: 
" The animal was thrown into the ashes till the hair was well 
singed off, and it became a little distended by the heat ; it was 
then scraped, and cleared of the entrails, after which it was 
returned to the fire till roasted enough. This is the common 
mode of cooking practised by the aborigines, who find, that by 
thus roasting the meat in the skin, the gravy is more abundant. 
In eating, they reject the skin" (p. 85). Bunce's description of 
their cooking is almost the same as that given by Backhouse 
(PP- 55-56). 

We have above recorded La Billardi^re's and Ross's account of 
their meals, including a few words on their cooking. Of this 
art, P^ron says (ch. xii. p. 226) : " The fire was lighted in an 
instant, . . . the cooking was neither a long nor a tedious opera- 
tion. The large shells were put on the fire, and there, as if on 
a dish, the animal cooked ; it was then eaten without any other 
seasoning or preparation. On tasting shell-fish prepared in this 
way, we found them very tender and succulent." On another 
occasion (ch. xii. p. 243) his party came upon " fourteen huts or 
wind -shelters ; . . . several fires were still burning before these 
huts. ... In front of them there were several bones of kangaroos 
and birds ; and some flat stones warm and greasy, on which it 
seemed to me meat had been broiled." Lloyd tells us (p. 51): 
"The task of gathering and cooking the latter description of 
food devolved entirely upon the gins. The culinary arrange- 
ments of those children of nature were most primitive. They 
lived in happy ignorance of any cooking apparatus save the 
bright red embers engendered from the wood of their native 


trees." " The manner of cooking their victuals is by throwing 
it on the fire, merely to singe oflf the hair" (Widowson, p. 190). 
** They used to half cook the opossums whole " (Thirkell). Back- 
house describes the cooking of limpets and bandicoots thus 
(p. 86) : " The bandicoot and limpets were cooked, the latter 
being pitched by the natives, with great dexterity, into the 
glowing embers, with the points of the shells downward : their 
contents, when cooked enough, were taken out by means of a 
pointed stick." " Having thrown the carcase, without any prepa- 
ration, upon the fire, when but just heated, the limbs were torn 
asunder, and devoured voraciously" (Dixon, p. 22). Only one 
settler testifies to the cleanliness of their cookery : " They scrape 
their kangaroo and opossum very clean before they roast them" 
(O'Connor, p. 55)- 

"The hearths of clay which Anderson noticed at Adventure 
Bay, at the foot of trees hollowed out thus [by fire], are not, 
1 believe, the work of the natives; for the trees which we saw 
rooted up and thrown down, had dragged along with them layers 
[^couches'] of clay mixed with stone, so hardened by the fire that one 
could easily have been deceived and taken them for masonry. The 
natives, indeed, use these hearths to broil their shell-fish ; frag- 
ments of shells have been found among the ashes at the foot of 
these trees" (Rossel, I. ch. iv. p. 63). With reference to the 
hearths La Billardidre states (I. ch. v. pp. 175-176): "Most of the 
large trees near the edges of the sea have been hollowed near their 
roots by means of fire. . . . They seem to be places of shelter for 
the natives whilst they eat their meals. We found in some of them 
the remains of the shell fish on which they feed, anS frequently the 
cinders of the fires at which they had dressed their victuals. . . . 
Anderson speaks of hearths of clay made by the natives in these 
hollow trees . . . ; but . . . the natives of this country do not make 
their fires upon hearths, but kindle them upon the bare ground, 
and prepare their victuals over the coals." Backhouse says (p. 79) : 
" They daily removed to a fresh place, to avoid the offal and filth 
that accumulated about the little fires which they kindled daily." 

** By the considerable heaps of shells we met with from time to 
time, we judged that the ordinary food of the savages consisted of 
mussels, wing-shells, scallops, chama, and other similar shell-fish " 
(Marion, p. 34). Foumeaux follows with the remarks (Cook's 
Second Voy. Bk. I. ch. vii.) : " Landed with much difficulty, and saw 
several places where the Indians had been, and one they had lately 
left where they had a fire, with a great number of pearl-scallop 

FOOD. 105 

shells round it, . . . with some burnt sticks and green boughs. . . . 
Mussel, pearl-scallop and cray-fish, I believe to be their chief food, 
though we could not find any of them;" and Anderson reported: 
" But it was evident that shell-fish, at least, made a part of their 
food, from the many heaps of mussel-shells we saw in different 
parts *' (Cook, Third Voy. Bk. I. ch. vii. p. 41). After Anderson 
came Bass, who relates (Collins, ch. xv. p. 169) : "The large heaps 
of mussel-shells that were found near each hut proclaimed the mud 
banks to be a principal source of food." He also mentions {ibid, 
p. 172), **that having landed on an island oflf the north-east coast, 

* the whole of which wore an aspect of poverty,' yet they found 

• this place was inhabited by men, as was shown by the old fire- 
places, strewed round with the shells of the sea ear,'" and so also 
did Flinders (p. 165) : ** Mussels were abundant, . . . and the natives 
appeared to get oysters by diving, the shells having been found 
n^r their fireplaces." La Billardi6re likewise noticed them (I. 
ch. v. p. 212), " The heaps of shells which we found near the sea- 
shore showed that these savages derive their principal means of 
subsistence from the shell-fish which they find there." Rossel, 
who was with La Billardi^re, remarks (L ch. iv. p. 56), "They 
appear to subsist upon shell-fish only, for large heaps of shells 
were found in the neighbourhood of places where they must have 
been living;" and Backhouse says (p. 348): "At Little Swan Port 
we visited the mounds of oyster-shells left by the aborigines, who 
formerly inhabited this country. . . . They must have been the 
accumulation of ages." It is, however, strange that we have been 
unable to find any reference to these shell-mounds in P6ron, other- 
wise the testimony regarding the widespread nature of this food is 
universal. Mortimer mentions, that on Maria Island, they saw 
trees hollowed by fire, "and great quantities of shells heaped 
about them" (p. 17). Mrs. Meredith thus describes the mounds: 
"Enormous quantities of dead [oyster] shells are found, forming 
large banks, forty feet high, on two low isthmuses, one of which 
unites the two groups of the Schouten Mountains, and the other 
joins the northernmost of these with the mainland. Similar banks 
are also found at Little Swan Port. . . . After high winds, both live 
and dead shells are thrown up on the two former shell banks, but 
not on any other beach in the vicinity. This having doubtless 
been the case for centuries, the aboriginal inhabitants would be 
accustomed to resort thither for the oysters, and very probably 
added to the shells thus naturally collected. . . . They would convey 
the oysters to the nearest shore for the purpose of eating them, . . . 


and the banks there would gain perpetual additions from their 
ample repasts. ... In Little Swan Port, beds of living oysters now 
exist, and on the adjacent shore are high banks of shells ; . . . but 
there is no surf or 'wash' in the still waters of this estuary, to cast 
up shells, so that, unless the one kind of * natives * consumed the 
other to such an extent as to account for the accumulation, the 
banks must have been upraised from the sea. ... At East Bay 
Neck, a low isthmus between Tasman's Peninsula and the main- 
land, large banks of cockle-shells appear, in the same manner as 
those of oysters at Swan Port, at about four or five yards above 
high- water mark, and are now overgrown with grass and rushes" 
(pp. 137-140). And Lloyd, who spent thirty-three years in the 
Colony, referring to the early days of settlement, says (pp. 78-79) : 
" In those primitive times, almost every particle of lime used in 
the colony was obtained by burning oyster-shells, firmly knit beds 
of which were discovered on the bay shores of my uncle's farm, 
to the extent of one chain (twenty-two yards) from high-water 
mark, and varying in depth from six to eight feet, imbedded in 
rich black sandy loam. ... On closely examining the oyster- 
shells, there was nothing to indicate their having been thrown 
up by any volcanic agency or extraordinary action of the sea ; 
on the contrary, they were promiscuously mixed together like 
to those opened at an oyster-eating rendezvous ; thus affording, in 
my humble opinion, incontrovertible evidence that Tasmania has 
been peopled from time immemorial ; and many other places 
along the shores of that colony exhibit the same proof in support 
of such a suggestion. . . . The banks wherein those large deposits 
of shells were found are fifteen to twenty feet above the level of 
the sea ; and many an oyster- roasting feast have I gladly joined 
in with the natives, on those very spots whereon their ancestors 
must have revelled in like reunions for ages past." Ronald Gunn 
was the first to undertake a scientific examination of these shell 
mounds. He reports (IL pp. 332-335), "The aborigines of 
Tasmania appear at all times to have derived a considerable 
portion of their food from the sea; . . . the testaceae and 
crustaceae constituted the principal and almost only supply they 
drew from that element. ... In cooking, the shells appear in all 
instances to have been merely roasted in the simplest manner, 
as I never could trace any indications of ovens, or stones arranged 
to be heated. . . In the majority of cases, they consumed their 
food as near as possible to the fishing stations ; occasionally going 
a little inland to avail themselves of a spring or stream of water. 

FOOD. 107 

I have, however, observed in a great number of instances, that 
there were unusually large accumulations of shells on projecting 
points, headlands and places commanding extensive views — even 
where not apparently the most eligible for cooking; whence I 
have supposed that they adopted these sites for their repasts, 
to protect themselves from the sudden attacks of hostile tribes. . . . 
Heaps and mounds of shells, of sizes varying from what might 
be supposed to be the debris of a family dinner to accumulations 
several feet in thickness, and many yards across, abound on all 
our shores, and upon every indentation of the coast ; the species 
of which these heaps are composed varying according to locality. 
... On the estuary of the Derwent these remains are found 
for several miles above Hobart Town, towards New Norfolk, 
until they disappear altogether at about three miles from the latter 
town. On the Tamar they are found at still less distance from the 
sea ; and it does not appear that the aborigines at any time were 
in the habit of carrying their shell-fish many miles inland; the 
farthest I have observed being two to three miles. The principal 
kinds of Testaceae used by the aborigines as food were two 
species of Haliotis {H. tuhirculata ? and laevigata^ which both attain 
a large size. . . . They were removed from the rocks (to which 
they closely adhere) by means of a wooden spatula- shaped instru- 
ment. . . . The Mussel {Myttlus sp.) ... is very common on 
the Derwent, on the Tamar, the north-west coast, etc. . . . The 
heaps on the Derwent and Tamar consist principally of this shell. 
Oysters {Ostrea sp.) : these are now rather scarce in many places 
where their remains are abundant. The Warrenah {Turbo sp.), 
which is very common in many situations, seems to have been 
a very favourite article of food. At Cape Grim there is a heap, 
several feet in thickness, of this shell, formed on the top of the 
Cape. Limpets {Patellae sp.) : on the south and west coasts, these 
attain to a very great size. Fasciolaria irapizium : this shell I saw 
principally in the small heaps on the north coast ; it is there 
abundant. A species of Purpura occurs occasionally in the heaps 
near Circular Head. A species of Cardium, and some of the 
smaller bivalves, were used on the Derwent, where these shells 
are common. . . . The period of time which has elapsed since 
the shells were removed from the sea (in most cases the latest 
must be upwards of thirty years), joined to their partial calcination 
by the aborigines in roasting, has caused their decomposition to 
be considerable." P6ron describes a family which was returning 
from fishing ; nearly all the individuals were loaded with shell -fish 


belonging to that large variety of oreille de mer peculiar to these 
shores (ch. xii. p. 226), and {ibid, p. 254) his meeting with some 
twenty female aborigines, " as they were evidently returning 
from fishing, they were all laden with large crabs, craw-fish and 
shell-fish grilled on the charcoal, which they carried in their rush 

Bunce states (p. 47) that "the natives obtained from the 
cider-trees of the Lakes {Eucalyptus resinifera) a slightly saccharine 
liquor, resembling treacle. At the proper season they ground 
holes in the tree from which the sweet juice flowed plentifully. 
It was collected in a hole at the bottom near the root of the 
tree. These holes were kept covered over with a flat stone, 
apparently for the purpose of preventing birds and animals 
coming to drink it. . . . When allowed to remain any length 
of time, it ferments and settles into a coarse kind of wine or 
cider, rather intoxicating if drunk to excess." 

Davies was of opinion that "before their intercourse with 
Europeans they do not appear to have had any knowledge of 
boiling water." 

As was to be expected of a race in their condition, the 
Tasmanians appear to have availed themselves largely of the 
edible vegetable productions which abounded in their island. 
La Billardi^re noticed that they made use of fern roots, sea 
weeds, fungi, etc. (II. ch. v. p. 235 ; ch. x. p. 14; ch. x. p. 50). 
The sea-wrack {Fucus palmaius) they broiled, and when it was 
softened to a certain point, they tore it to pieces to eat it, . . . 
and the ficoides they eat without preparation. Rossel also refers 
(I. ch. iv. p. 99) to the fern roots eaten by the natives; and 
Melville says: "And at certain seasons they procured, in great 
abundance, what is called the native bread, a kind of truffle" 
(p. 346). Gunn probably refers to this when he describes punk 
(I. p. 47) : " The large white fungus, called in the Colony ' punk/ 
which grows from the stringy bark, is said to have been eaten 
when fresh by the aborigines." Milligan, after describing their 
fish diet, continues : " With these they mingled the core or pith 
of the fern trees, Cibotium Billardieri and Alsophila Amiralis (of 
which the former is rather astringent and dry for a European 
palate, and the latter, though more tolerable, is yet scarcely equal 
to a Swedish turnip) ; the young shoots of the PUris esculenh\ 
common ferns, as they emerge from the ground full of viscid 
mucous juice and various epiphytic fungi, of which one of the 
most importapt is that which grows on the Eucalypti, and is known. 

FOOD. 109 

when dry, under the name of Punk, and used as tinder in the 
Colony. Punk, when young, is nearly snow-white, soft, and to 
the taste insipid, with a distant flavour of mushroom ; in this stage 
they eat it freely, either raw or slightly roasted. The Cyttaria of 
the myrtle tree, a small morelle-looking, honey-combed fungus, 
growing upon a fine pedicle, was a great favourite ; but that which 
afforded the largest amount of solid and substantial nutritious 
matter was the native breads a fungus growing in the ground, 
after the manner of the truffle, and generally so near the roots 
of the trees as to be reputed parasitical. Several mushrooms were 
also eaten by them ; the onion-like leaves of some orchids, and the 
tubers of several plants of this tribe, were largely consumed by 
them, particularly those of Gasirodi sessamoides, the native potato, 
so called by the colonists, though never tasted by them. . . . The 
green seed-vessels of Acacia sophora. A, marHima, and several 
others were eaten freely by them, after having been half-roasted 
by the fire ; the amylaceous roots of the bulrush were roasted and 
eaten by them, together with the carrot-like roots of some small 
umbelliferae. Of berries and fruits of which they partook, the 
principal were those of Solatium laciniatum^ or kangaroo apple, 
when dead ripe, of Leucopogon gni'dium and ericoides, of certain 
species of Coprosma, of the Gualtheria hispida^ the Billardiera 
iongiflora, of Cyathodes, etc. Besides these, the leaf of the larger 
kelp, whenever it could be obtained, was eagerly looked for and 
greedily eaten, after having undergone a process of roasting and 
maceration in fresh water, followed by a second roasting, when, 
though tough, ... it is susceptible of mastication " (Beacon, 
pp. 26-28). Another account says (Proc. Roy. Soc. Van Diemen's 
Land, I. p. 164-), "The pith in the uppermost part of the column 
of a young and vigorous Ahophila is soft and succulent, and, as 
compared with that from the common Tasmanian fern tree 
{Cibotium Billarditri), is devoid of astringency, and has a bland 
sweetish taste. The pith of both tree ferns was formerly eaten in 
a half-roasted state by the aborigines, but that from the Ahophila 
was preferred. Their maxim was, that the pith of the Cihotium 
must be eaten along with the flesh of the kangaroo, etc. ; while 
that from the Ahophila was considered so good that it might be 
partaken of alone." Backhouse records, " We saw many of the 
tree ferns, with the upper portion of the trunk split and one half 
turned back. This had evidently been done by the aborigines 
to obtain the heart for food, but how the process was eff*ected 
I could not discover. It must certainly have required consider- 


able skill." In the Appendix to his book he adds a list of 
native plants, from which we extract particulars of those made 
use of by the natives for purposes of food. " Geranium parvi- 
florum : the aborigines were in the habit of digging up the roots 
of this plant, which are large and fleshy, and roasting them 
for food. It was called about Launceston, Native carrot. This 
species is very widely distributed over the Colony, and is usually 
found in light loamy soil. Although we possess about sixty species 
of this [pea] family, exclusive of the Acaciae, none of them yield 
good edible seeds. The aborigines were in the habit of collecting 
the ripening pods of Acacia^ Sophora, or the Boobialla, and, after 
roasting them in the ashes, they picked out the seeds and eat 
them. Orchidaceae : a number of plants of this family have small 
bulbous roots, which were formerly eaten by the aborigines. 
Xanthorrhoea australis ? Grass tree : The base of the inner leaves 
of the grass-tree is not to be despised by the hungry. The 
aborigines beat oflf the heads of these singular plants by striking 
them about the tops of the trunks with a large stick ; they then 
strip oflf the outer leaves and cut away the inner ones, leaving 
about an inch and a half of the white tender portion, joining the 
trunk ; this portion they eat, raw or roasted ; and it is far from 
disagreeable in flavour, having a nutty taste, slightly balsamic. The 
most extensively diflfused edible root of Van Diemen's Land is that 
of the Tara-fern. This plant greatly resembles Pieris aquili'na, the 
Common Fern, or Brake of England. . . . The Tasmanian plant is 
Pteris esculenta, and is known among the aborigines by the name of 
Tara. . . . The root is not bulbous, but creeps horizontally, at a few 
inches below the surface of the earth, and where it is luxuriant, 
attains to the thickness of a man's thumb. . . . The aborigines roast 
this root in the ashes, peel oflf its black skin with their teeth, and 
eat it with their roasted kangaroo, etc., in the same manner as 
Europeans eat bread. Cyhotium Billarditri, Tree Fern : The native 
blacks of the Colony used to split open about a foot and a 
half of the top of the trunk of the Common Tree-fern, and take 
out the heart, a substance resembling the Swedish turnip, and 
of the thickness of a man's arm. This they also roasted in the 
ashes and eat as bread ; but it is too bitter and astringent to suit 
an English palate. It is said the aborigines preferred the heart of 
another species of tree-fern, Alsophila australis, found at Macquarie 
Harbour and in other places on the northern side of Van Diemen's 
Land. Mylitia Australis, Native Bread : this species of tuber 
is often found in the Colony, attaining to the size of a child's 

FOOD. 1 1 1 

head ; its taste somewhat resembles boiled rice. Like the heart 
of the Tree-fern, and the root of the native potato, cookery 
produces little change in its character. On asking the aborigines 
how they found the native bread, they universally replied, *A 
Rotten Tree.' " Gunn says the Mesembryanihemum aequilaieraU 
(pig faces) is the canagong of the aborigines : " The pulp of the 
almost shapeless, but somewhat ob- conical, fleshy seed vessel of 
this plant is sweetish and saline" (I. p. 48), and Gell also refers 
to this {ibid, II. p. 323). Lists of plants that could have been used 
for food by the aboriginal Tasmanian natives have been made out, 
but it is not necessary to repeat them here. 


"They were great flesh-eaters, but not cannibals, and never 
were : some of them, being incautiously asked if they ever in- 
dulged in this practice, expressed great horror at it. They never 
named the dead, and certainly never ate them " (Calder, Joum.). 
Holman (IV. p. 404) remarks : " It is certain they are not can- 
nibals : " and Melville (p. 346) further confirms the above by 
telling us that: "Those who suffered most from their warfare, 
and were, consequently, likely to attribute to them their worst 
propensities, never charged them with cannibalism." It may 
therefore be safely accepted as a fact that cannibalism was not 
one of their customs. 

Hunting and Fishing. 

The occasional firing of the grass in order to induce fresh 
growth to tempt the approach of kangaroos appears to have 
been a common practice among the aborigines (Meredith, Home 
in Tasmania, ch. vii. p. 109; Backhouse, p. 112). "Their usual 
method of killing kangaroos was by surrounding a scrub, setting 
fire to it, and spearing the kangaroos as they came out" (Davies, 
p. 412). This method is thus described by Holman, the blind 
traveller (IV. ch. xii. pp. 405-6) : " One of their modes of hunting 
the kangaroo is generally as successful as it is ingenious. Having 
discovered a spot to which they know a number of these animals 
resort, they make a fire round it, taking care to leave two or 
three openings by which they may endeavour to escape ; they then 
station themselves at these places, and on the animals attempting 
to pass, they spear them with such dexterity, that few are ever 
permitted to escape. They use similar means when any of these 



animals are found on a small hill, by making a fire round its 
base. This practice, however, is rather neglected of late, since 
they have become acquainted with the use of dogs, . . . which 
they invariably treat with great kindness from a consciousness of 
their value.*' West says (II. pp. 85-86), regarding the chase 
by aid of dogs, the aborigines ran nearly abreast of them: 
stimulated them by imitating the cry of the kangaroo, and were 
generally in at the death. Entrapping by fire was not their only 
method of capturing the kangaroos. White (Evid. p. 53) reports 
that once in May, i8q^ while hoeing near a creek, he saw "300 
spf the natives come down in a circular form and a flock of 
^ kangaroos hemmed in between them ; . . . they had no spears 
- - , with them, only waddies ; they were hunting." 
V ^ Lloyd's account of such a hunt is quite graphic : '* When but a 
boy, I passed many happy days in following the chase with those 
primitive children of the woods, who took great delight in teach- 
ing me to wield the quivering spear and whistling waddie. . . . The 
method of capturing the forest kangaroo . . . was exceedingly 
interesting and exciting. On sighting their prey, the most skilful 
hunter instantly dropped to the earth, and creeping alternately on 
hands, knees, and stomach, behind trees and stumps . . . — now in- 
sinuating his supple body through the high grass, like a wily snake, 
until he had successively arrived within thirty or forty yards of the 
unwary victim — he would carefully raise himself up behind the 
trunk of a tree presenting the best point of attack, when, poising 
the fatal weapon, he bounded towards his prey with the agility 
of a panther, and hurling the spear, seldom failed in transfixing 
the poor animals. Their mode of hunting in the ferns, scrubs, 
and underwood, was by clearing a patch of about twenty feet 
square. Men, women, and children then distributed themselves 
in a large circle, and advancing towards the cleared space drove 
the game — brush, kangaroo, wallaby, and bandicoot — indiscrimi- 
nately to the slaughter" (p. 45). The catching of an opossum 
was a more difficult matter. West (II. p. 85) says : "The opossum 
was hunted by the women, who by a glance discovered if the 
animal were to be found in the tree," and Backhouse (p. 172) 
refers to such a hunt in the following terms : ** The climbing of 
the lofty smooth-trunked gum trees, by the women to obtain 
opossums, which lodge in the hollows of decayed branches, is 
one of the most remarkable feats I ever witnessed." Davies 
(p. 413) describes the capture in this way: **The natives, espe- 
cially the women, get opossums by climbing trees. Their senses 


of seeing and hearing are particularly acute, and a glance will 
suffice to tell them when there is an opossum in the tree. They 
always carried with them a small rope, made of kangaroo sinews, 
and their mode of climbing the trees was as follows : They first, 
as high as they could conveniently reach, cut a notch with a 
sharp stone in the side of the tree, then threw the bight of 
the rope up, and leaning back, it held against the tree by their 
weight, until with its assistance the climber got his right great 
toe into the notch that had been cut ; then grasping the tree 
with his left arm, the rope by a sudden jerk is thrown higher up 
the tree, a fresh notch is cut for the left toe, and so the climber 
proceeds. If branches interfere, they are a hindrance to the 
climber, but he then throws the end of the rope over it, and 
holding both ends raises himself up." According to Lloyd (pp. 
46-47) : "The method of catching the climbing opossum . . . 
is, notwithstanding the imminent danger which attends it, ah 
extremely interesting sight to mere bystanders. The thrilling 
exclamation of *Wah! Wah I Wahl' denoting that traces had 
been discovered of the cat-taloned animal having very recently 
ascended the tree, soon brought other natives to the spot : where- 
upon — the most cunning in such matters deciding in council 
that the impressions made on the smooth bark were of the pre- 
ceding night — one of the boldest and most agile of the hunters 
prepared to ascend the formidable-looking blue gum. The flint 
tomahawk and the strong hay-band supplied the want of a ladder. 
• . . The strong wire-grass rope, made into close three-strand 
plait, being passed round the tree and tied in a loop sufficiently 
large, the native placed himself within it; then with his toma- 
hawk he made a slightly roughed score in the bark, into which, 
inserting his muscular great toe only, he steadily and unerringly 
raised himself upright. The band was then dexterously jerked 
higher up the trunk ; another score made and so on, until he had 
succeeded in reaching the required height. The scores or steps 
were never less than three feet and a half apart. Having scaled 
the tree, the next feat was to follow the tracks of the opossum 
along some bare projecting branch ; upon which the native 
walked upright and confident, as if he also resided amidst the 
boughs of towering gums. The snug domicile of the opossum 
being discovered, the ticklish operation came of thrusting in the 
bare arm into the hollowed branch, pulling him out by the tail, 
and tossing him from the dizzy height into the midst of the 
eager hunters who were assembled round the tree. Frequently, 



however, the wary little animal . . . would retreat from its nest, 
and perching itself ... at the extreme end of the branch, would 
remain till fairly shaken off by its ruthless pursuer." "When 
the opossum was got out of a hole in the tree, they would knock 
its head against the tree and throw it down. Those below would 
catch it up if not dead" (Thirkell). Bass, although he did not 
see an opossum hunted, considered that the trees were climbed 
by means of the rope, ** for once, at the foot of a notched tree, 
about eight feet of a two inch rope made of grass was found 
with a knot in it, near which it appeared to have broken " (Collins, 
p. 169). He also had seen notched trees {ibid, p. 188). Tasman 
and his crew, in 1642, had also seen these notches, and reported 
them to be five feet apart (Gell, II. pp. 323-325). 

Under the heading of food it was shown that the Tasmanians 
did not eat fish. On this subject Anderson remarks (Capt. Cook's 
Third Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.): "They were ignorant of the use of 
fishhooks. . . . We did not see any of them employed in catching 
fish, nor observe any canoe or vessel in which the)^ could go upon 
the water"; and La Billardi^re states (II. ch. x. p. 63): "From 
the manner in which we had seen them procure fish, we had 
reason to presume that they had no fishhooks; accordingly we 
gave them some of ours." According to Wentworth they " have 
no knowledge whatever of the art of fishing" (p. 115). The women 
dived for haliotis and crayfish. "They take down with them a 
small grass basket, slung round their waist, into which they put 
their shell-fish" (Davies, p. 413); and P6ron and La Billardi^re 
frequently refer to this method of obtaining food from the sea" 
{see Food). "Adhering to the rocks . . . the Mutton-fish are met 
with abundantly. These are often taken in deep water by the native 
women, who dive for them, and force them from the rocks by 
means of a wooden chisel. They put them into an oval bag, and 
bring them up suspended round their necks" (Backhouse, p. 103). 
The same author continues, on another occasion : " In the after- 
noon we went ... on a fishing excursion. . . . Some of the 
women went into the water among the large sea-tangle, to take 
crayfish. These women seem quite at home in the water, and 
frequently immerse their faces to enable them to see objects at the 
bottom. When they discover the object of their search, they dive, 
often using the long stems of the kelp to enable them to reach 
the bottom ; these they handle as dexterously in descending as a 
sailor would a rope in ascending" (Backhouse, p. 168). One of 
the French explorers saw the wooden chisels being made. " We 


observed some of the savages employed in cutting little bits of 
wood in the form of a spatula, and smoothing them with a 
shell, for the purpose of separating from the rocks limpets or 
sea-ears, on which they feast" (La Billardi^re, II. ch. x. 

P- 52). 

At times fish were speared for sport only, and such pastime is 
thus described by Lloyd (pp. 50-52) : " On one of these occasions 
[corroboree] . . . the black and white auditory were informed by 
the head warrior that a ' big one fish spear um ' (fish hunt) would 
come oflf on the following morning, . . . not with the object of 
obtaining food, but merely as a matter of sport. . . . The locality 
chosen for the sport was called Sweet Water Bay. At high-water 
its greatest depth did not exceed three feet for upwards of one- 
third of a mile from the shore. Its waters literally teemed with 
the dangerous ray-fish. The preparation for the onslaught upon 
the finny monsters commenced by simultaneous entry into the 
water of the whole assembled tribes, men, women, and children, 
numbering upwards of 300, who, dividing, entered at two different 
points, distant from each other about 250 yards, and continued to 
wade out until they had formed themselves into a half circle ; then, 
with their long sticks furiously beating the water, accompanied 
with frantic yells, and other unearthly sounds, they generally 
succeeded in retaining within the goal numbers of the dreaded 
fish. The serried cordon having so far completed their work, a 
few of the most active and skilful young savages, each armed with 
the\^keen-edged tomahawk and two heavy barbed spears, boldly 
entered the scene of action. Quickly discovering their devoted 
prey, they cast the deadly weapon ; the awkward fish, writhing and 
plunging, darted along the surface of the water; . . . but the 
firmly-planted spear once grasped by the muscular hand of the 
excited hunter, the victim was soon hauled to the shore and finally 
despatched. . . . After having satisfied their warrior-propensities 
by destroying numbers of those dangerous creatures, the hunters 
would retire to their camp-fires and regale themselves upon the 
usual coast fare, oysters and steaming opossum." 

Regarding the capture of birds, Anderson reported (Cook's Third 
Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.) : " There are several sorts of birds, but all so 
scarce and shy, that they are evidently harassed by the natives;" 
while La Billardi^re has the following (II. ch. x. pp. 42-43): **A 
trifling incident gave us reason to presume that they sometimes 
catch birds with their hands. A paroquet . . . flew by us, and 
pitched on the ground at a little distance. Immediately two of 


the young savages set off to catch it, and were on the point of 
putting their hands upon it, when the bird took wing." 

According to O'Connor (p. 55), "The natives are as tenacious 
of their hunting grounds as settlers are of their farms." Robinson 
told Calder (Journ. p. 23), that though their wives went with 
them in their hunting excursions, they did not allow them to 
participate in the sport, and that they acted only as drudges, to 
carry their spears and the game ; but that the fishing (for shell- 
fish only, obtained by diving) was resigned wholly to them. 
The men, he said, considered it beneath them. 

'* They lay up no stores of provisions, and have been known in 
winter time to eat kangaroo skins" (Brodribb, p. 52). 





Nomadic Life. 

"They were of wandering habits, yet they seldom advanced 
beyond the boundaries which marked their own respective 
possessions — their place of encampment depended on the food 
they had obtained in hunting or fishing — as it was their custom 
to make their sojourn where they procured their prey and took 
their last meal " (Melville, p. 346). Foumeaux (Cook's Sec. Voy. 
Bk. I. ch. vii.) thought they were nomadic: "They lie on the 
ground, on dried grass; and I believe they have no settled 
habitation (as their houses seemed built only for a few days), but , 
wander about in small parties from place to place, in search of | 
food, and are actuated by no other motive. We never found more 
than three or four huts in a place, capable of containing three or 
four persons each only." The following extracts from Rossel 
(I. ch. iii. p. 51; ch. iv. pp. 69 and 82) confirm Foumeaux's 
supposition: "I found near the stream the remains of some 
encampments of the natives of the country. The oyster-shells 
and limpets, pieces of burnt wood, and the down-trodden grass 
near, assured me that they had stayed there. ... At a short 
distance from the shore, three huts, which were abandoned, made 
us think that the natives of the country came to live on this little 
island during certain seasons of the year. This island [La Haye] 
is covered with trees ; at every step, there, we came across oyster- 
shells and recent traces of fire, which seemed to show that it had 
been inhabited by the natives of their country, and that they 
could only have abandoned it very recently" [time of year. May]. 
Breton says (p. 349) " they lead a wandering life," and Widowson 
(pp. 189-190), that "they have no appointed place or situation to 
live in ; they roam about at will. . . . They rarely move at night." 
P6ron (ch. xx. sec. i. p. 448) speaks of their " always wandering," 
and states (ch. xvi. pp. 337-338): "From what I have elsewhere 
narrated of our dealings with the inhabitants of Van Diemen's 
Land, it can be seen that, not only those on Brimy Island belong 


to the same race, but, further, that they migrate alternately from 
the one region to the other. It is probable that at the time of our 
anchorage in Adventure Bay they were on the mainland ; for we 
could not discover any traces of their actually living there. It 
would appear, likewise, that this part of Bruny Island is less 
frequented by them than that opposite Van Diemen's Land ; which 
seemed to me to arise from scarcity, in Adventure Bay, of the 
large Haltotis, big Turbos^ and oysters, which constitute the 
principal food of* these people. To make up for this, however, 
the Bay during summer, when the channel is dried up, supplies 
them with all the water which they need." According to Holman 
(IV. ch. xii. p. 405) : " Migration from one part of the island to 
another is usual with the respective tribes, according to the season 
of the year ; the attainment of food appearing to be their principal 
object in the change of place." 

Governor Arthur mentions that the north-east coast of Van 
Diemen's Land was continually frequented by the natives for ' 
, shell-fish, and also on account of its being the best sheltered 
and warmest part of the island, and remote from the settled 
districts" (Colonies and Slaves, p. 4). Brodribb {ibid. p. 52) 
mentions that **The natives from the eastward do not go further 
west than Abyssinia," and amongst certain places visited by them 
"there is one in the Campbell Town district, where they go to 
obtain flint. The natives remain more stationary in the winter 
than in the summer . . . they are then comparatively inactive." 
The Rev. R. Knopwood {ibid. p. 53) understood that the natives 
cross the country from east to west in the month of March. 
O'Connor {ibid. p. 54) states: "They are never seen in winter; 
. . . they then retire into the interior." It is strange Jeffreys 
(p. 127) should say, "They but seldom visit the coast," for all 
other writers refer to such visits, and we have the evidence of the 
recent shell-mounds. He, however, continues : " Their excursions, 
in the autumn, are supposed to be from west to east, and in the 
spring from east to west." There can be no doubt from all the 
above that the migrations of the aborigines were periodical, and 
West (II. p. 20) sums up the question thus : " The tribes took up 
their periodical stations, and moved with intervals so regular, that 
their migrations were anticipated, as well as the season of their 
return. The person employed in their pursuit by the aid of his 
native allies, was able to predict at what period and place he 
should find a tribe ; . . . and though months intervened, he 
found them in the valley, and at the time he foretold," adding 


(II. p. 83), "During the winter, the natives visited the sea- 
shore: they disappeared from the settled districts about June, 
and returned in October." 

From Foumeaux's account it did not seem that they moved in 
large numbers; but Prinsep (p. 78) says: "They move in large 
bodies, with incredible swiftness, forty or fifty miles in one night." 
This statement contradicts that of Widowson, as regards travelling 
at night ; but as regards numbers agrees with O'Connor (p. 54), 
who says they "travel in parties of ten, twenty, and thirty." 
** Though they rarely remain two days in a place, they seldom 
travel far at a time. Each tribe keeps much to its own district " 
(Backhouse, p. 104). We have seen above that Melville also says 
they keep within their boundaries ; but both statements appear 
to contradict the reasons usually described as the cause of their 
intertribal feuds (see War). According to Laplace (III. ch. xviii. 
p. 201), in their constant journeys it was the women who had 
**to carry the hunting or fishing utensils, the provisions, and 
the children unable to walk." 

" Each tribe of the aborigines is divided into several families, 
and each family, consisting of a few individuals, occupies its own 
fire" (Backhouse, p. 104). Lloyd (p. 137) says also: "Wherever 
a tribe of aborigines locate themselves, each family kindles its 
separate fire at fourteen to twenty yards apart." "They never 
kindle large fires, lest their haunts might be tracked, but choose 
retired situations, and generally where food and water are easily 
attainable" (Van Diemen's Land Annual, 1834, p. 78). "Their 
encampments were always formed on the margin of a stream or 
lagoon. To be within reach of a natural reservoir was of prime 
importance to a people who had no means of digging wells, or 
of carrying about with them, for any considerable distance, a 
stock of water" (Dove, I. p. 250). Colonel Arthur refers to "the 
migratory habits of the aborigines, and their attachment to their 
savage mode of life, as raising difficulties in the way of their 
settling down in any one district" (Colonies and Slaves, p. 4); 
and Dove years afterwards makes the same complaint : " Such is 
the force of habit and association, that even yet these children of 
the forest gladly quit the neat and substantial cottages which 
have been built for them, for the luxury (as they account it) of 
wandering over the bush, and of reclining under the shade of 
a roofless break-wind. In the hour of sickness and death, they 
often breathe a wish to meet the issue of their maladies amidst 
the wilds of Nature " (I. p. 249). 



Cook and Anderson were both under the impression that the 
natives hollowed out, by means of fire, the lower part of tree 
trunks in order to make use of such openings for habitations 
(Third Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi. pp. 41-45). Mortimer (pp. 17-18) also 
mentions these burnt-out hollows. Rossel held similar views, and 
they were confirmed by the fact that these burnt-out hollows were 
always on the east side of the trees (I. ch. iii. pp. 51-53 ; ch. iv. 
PP« 55» 61-62). Marion (p. 34) "saw no signs of any houses, only 
some break-winds, rudely formed of branches of trees, with traces 
of fires near them,*' and according to Dixon (p. 22), it " was only 
in the coldest weather that they thought of erecting a shelter. 
This was always of the rudest structure, being a few upright sticks, 
leaning together, and scantily covered with strips of bark; but 
as soon as the fine weather returned, the frail habitation was 
deserted." Foumeaux thus describes the huts (Cook's Sec. Voy. 
Bk. I. ch. vii.) : " The boughs of which their huts are made are 
either broken or split, and tied together with grass in a circular 
form, the largest end stuck in the ground, and the smaller parts 
meeting in a point at the top, and covered with fern and bark, so 
poorly done that they will hardly keep out a shower of rain. In 
the middle is the fireplace, surrounded with heaps of mussel, 
pear-scallop, and crayfish shells. ... I believe they have no 
settled habitations, as these houses seemed built only for a few 
days." Bass's description is somewhat different : " Their huts, of 
which seven or eight were frequently found together like a little 
encampment, were constructed of bark, torn in long strips from 
some neighbouring tree, after being divided transversely at the 
bottom, in such breadths as they judge their strength would be 
able to disengage from its adherence to the wood, and the con- 
necting bark on each side. It is then broken into convenient 
lengths, and placed, sloping wise, against the elbowing part of 
some dead branch that has fallen off from the distorted limbs of 
the gum tree ; and a little grass is sometimes thrown over the top 
part. But, after all their labour, they have not ingenuity sufficient to 
place the slips of bark in such a manner as to preclude the free 
admission of the rain" (Collins, p. 168). Against this we have 
La Billardiere's testimony, which says (II. ch. x. p. 10): "The 
ingenuity with which they had disposed the bark that covered its 
roof, excited our admiration ; the heaviest rain could not penetrate 


it. It can be supposed that the different tribes did not all build 
their huts or break-winds on exactly the same pattern." Flinders 
mentions that Mr. Cox saw " a hut, or rather hovel, neatly con- 
structed of branches of trees and dried leaves" (Sec. IV. p. 91); 
and from Mortimer's remarks it is to be inferred he also met with 
huts constructed of leaves and branches, without bark (pp. 17-18). 
The spongy bark of the Eucalyptus restntferay which peels off 
naturally, seems also to have been used for coverings for the huts 
(La Billardi^re, I. ch. v. p. 174), and the same author tells us that, 
in fixing up the framework, the branches were fixed into the 
ground by both ends {ibid, pp. 1 79-1 91). The illustration we 
give (after P^ron) shows the break-wind nature of these con- 
structions, and P6ron's own words well bear out the illustration. 
Describing one of these he says (ch. xii. p. 225) : " It was 
simply a wind shelter of bark, arranged in a semicircle, and 
leaning against some dry branches. The sole object of such a 
frail refuge could only have been to protect the man from the 
action of the very cold winds. I observed that its convexity was 
opposed to the effect of the S.E. winds, which on these shores 
are the most constant, the most impetuous and the coldest." 
Some huts that Calder met with (Joum. pp. 20-21) ** in the 
Western Mountains seemed to have been constructed in a great 
hurry, and were composed of a few strips of bark laid against 
some large dead branches that were used just as they had fallen 
from the trees above. Others that I have seen had evidently 
been occupied for several nights. These were also of bark, 
supported on sticks driven a little into the ground. . . . These 
huts were closed only on the weather side, and perfectly open 
in front, some large enough for several persons, others less." 
. . . */ It was only on the west coast, between Port Davey and 
Macquarie Harbour, that huts were in use continuously, for 
periods of about six months together; these huts were conical, 
and thatched with grass, having an opening on one side, to 
answer the double purpose of door and chimney" (Milligan, 
Beacon, p. 25). Another description of these huts runs: "Three 
pieces of timber are placed in an oblique position with their 
ends sunk a little into the ground, and meeting in a point at 
the top, where they are fastened by a cord of bark. Two of the 
three sides of this dwelling are then filled with wicker-work, 
like their canoes ; and the whole is completely secured from the 
-inclemency of the weather by a covering of long grass" (Jeffreys, 
pp. 128-129). Speaking of the break-winds, West says (II. p. 82) : 


" These huts fonned rude villages, and were seen from seventeen 
to forty together. The former number being raised by a tribe 
of seventy, from four to five must have lodged under one shelter. 
Some, found at the westward, were permanent; they were like 
beehives, and thatched; several such were seen by Jorgenson, 
on the western shore — strong and apparently erected for long 
use." In their camping places ** some of them sat on kangaroo 
skins, and some others had a little pillow, which they called 
roiri, near a quarter of a yard long, and covered with skin, on * 
which they rested one of their elbows " (La Billardi^re, II. ch. x. 

p. 47)- 

Curious Structures, — *' A curious account of one of their places 
of meeting is preserved in an official letter, written by Mr. W. B. 
Walker, dated December 24, 1827, from which the following is 
taken : — * Some time since Mr. W. Field had occasion to search 
for a fresh run for some of his cattle, in the course of which 
he found a fine tract of land, to the west of George Town, in 
which is an extensive plain, and on one side of it his stock- 
keepers found a kind of spire, curiously ornamented with shells, 
grasswork, etc. The tree of which it is formed appeared to have 
had much labour and ingenuity bestowed upon it, being by means 
of fire brought to a sharp point at the top and pierced with 
holes, in which pieces of wood are placed in such a manner as 
to afford an easy ascent to near the top, where there is a com- 
modious seat for a man. At the distance of fifteen or twenty 
yards round the tree are two circular ranges of good huts, com- 
posed of bark and grass ; described as much in the form of an 
old-fashioned coal-scuttle turned wrong side up, the entrance 
about eighteen inches high, five feet or six feet high at the 
back, and eight feet or ten feet long. There are also numerous 
small places in form of birds' -nests, formed of grass, having 
constantly fourteen stones in each. The circular space between 
the spire and the huts has the appearance of being much fre- 
quented, being trod quite bare of grass, and seems to be used 
as a place of assembly and consultation. In the huts and the 
vicinity were found an immense number of waddies, but very few 
spears. . . . There are two others, but of inferior construction^ 
one about ^ve miles from the Supply Mills, and the other west 
of Piper's Lagoon, north of the Western River. He [my in- 
formant] has frequently met small parties of natives on their way 
to and from the two last-named places'" (Calder, Joum. pp. 
23-24). La Billardidre describes a curious structure of another 


sort (ch. V. pp. 178-179): "We found on the skirts of the forest 
a fence constructed by the natives against the winds of the bay. 
It consisted of strips of the bark of the Eucalyptus restntfera, 
interwoven between stakes fixed perpendicularly into the ground, 
forming an arch, of about the third of the circumference of a 
circle, nine feet in length and three in height, with its convex 
side turned towards the bay. . . . We found another of the fences 
above described on the skirt of the forest. It was of the same 
construction and height as the former, but twice as long." 


Of agriculture in all its branches the Tasmanians appear to 
have been absolutely ignorant, for we find no mention anywhere 
of their possessing any knowledge of the cultivation of the soil. 

Domestic Animals. 

Davies (p. 418) remarks: "They have no domestic animals, 
unless a young tamed kangaroo could be esteemed such ; and it 
is much to be doubted, whether, in their wild state, they even 
had this. Of later years they have had dogs." These dogs, 
according to Backhouse (p. 85), "were highly valued by their 
owners, who obtained them from Europeans, there being originally 
no wild dogs in Van Diemen's Land." Widowson also tells us 
(p. 190) that the aborigines "roam about at will, followed by 
a pack of dogs, of different sorts and sizes, which are used 
principally for hunting. He adds (ibid.) a curious fact in con- 
nection with their fondness for these animals, namely, that the 
" females are frequently known to suckle a favourite puppy instead 
of the child." 

With regard to the question of vermin, we have the following 
statement by La Billardi^re (IL p. 55): "These people are covered 
with vermin. We admired the patience of a mother, who was a 
long while employed in freeing one of her children from them ; 
but we observed with disgust, that, like most of the blacks, she 
crushed these filthy insects between her teeth, and then swallowed 

Social and Marital Relations. 

No marriage ceremony seems to have been described or even 
witnessed by any European. 

"It was rarely the custom amongst them to select wives from 


their own tribes, but rather to take them furtively, or by open 
force, from neighbouring clans ; they were monogamous, but the 
practice of divorce was recognized, and acted upon, on incom- 
patibility of disposition and habits, as well as on grosser cause 
given. Tasmanian lords had no difficulty, and made no scruple, 
about a succession of wives, and would thus occasionally, after 
temporary separation, readjust differences, and live happily ever 
after with their first loves: still they never kept more than one 
wife at one time" (Milligan, Beacon, p. 29). Calder also speaks 
as though they were a monogamous people : " It is nowhere stated 
. . . that polygamy was practised by the Tasmanian ; but as the 
man Joe . . . had two wives at the same time, it cannot be said 
the practice was unknown to them" (Joum. p. 22). P6ron 
mentions meeting with a family of aborigines, "two members 
of which, a young man and a young woman, appeared to us to 
be at the same time epoux et frhres^^ (ch. xii. p. 226). There is, 
however, plenty of evidence to show that the natives were poly- 
gamous. West says (II. p. 78) : " Polygamy was tolerated ; 
women were, latterly, bigamists. ... It is said they courted 
with flowers." Lloyd settles the question in favour of polygamy 
thus (pp. 44-45) : " Plurality of wives was the universal law among 
them. Amongst the Oyster Bay tribe, in 1821, I scarcely ever 
knew an instance of a native having but one gin. On the 
contrary, two or three were the usual allowance. I have known 
a grey-headed old savage to possess three wives of the respective 
ages of thirty, seventeen, and ten years, all betrothed to him from 
childhood, and from the time of their betrothal, became members 
of his family circle, entirely dependent on him for support." In 
spite of Lloyd's experience, there were doubtless exceptional cases 
when monogamy prevailed, for on one occasion during an inter* 
view La Billardi^re reports: "Two of the stoutest of the party 
were sitting in the midst of their children, and each had two 
women by his side. They informed us by signs that these were 
their wives, and gave us a fresh proof that polygamy is established 
among them. The other woman, who had only one husband, was 
equally careful to let us know it. It would be difficult to say 
which are the happiest ; as the most laborious of their domestic 
occupations devolve upon them, the former had the advantage of 
a partner in them, which perhaps might sufficiently compensate 
their having only a share in their husband's affections " (II. ch. x. 
p. 60). Dove considers that from the very fact of polygamy 
prevailing, the condition of the women must be abject (I. p. 252). 


Regarding their treatment by their husbands, P6ron, describing 
an interview with some twenty female aborigines, says: "They 
were nearly all covered with scars, the miserable results of the 
bad treatment of their brutal husbands" (p. 252). These scars 
may perhaps have been only the cicatrices with which they adorned 
themselves. The manner in which the men took the food from 
the women, giving them only the remnants, has been described in 
the chapter on food. On one occasion some twenty women had 
deposited the results of their fishing at the feet of the men, " who 
immediately divided it up, without giving them any ; they proceeded 
to group themselves behind their husbands, who were seated on 
the back of a large sand-bank ; and there, during the remainder 
of the interview, these unfortunates dared neither to raise their 
eyes, speak, nor smile." Such conduct is perhaps explained by 
La Billardi^re's statement (II. ch. x. p. 61) that the women 
showed the greatest subordination to their husbands : **It appeared 
that the women were careful to avoid giving their husbands any 
occasion for jealousy." " The men are very indolent, and make 
the women their beasts of burden, and do all their servile 
operations, such as cooking, etc. . . . While the men are taking 
it easy in front, the women follow at some short distance behind, 
sweltering under a load of one or two children on their backs, 
a couple of puppy dogs in their arms, and a variety of miscel- 
laneous articles slung around them. The men are extremely 
selfish ; if, after being short of food, one kills a kangaroo, he does 
not divide it with the others of the party, but, after his wife has 
cooked it, and taken her place behind his back, he satisfies himself 
with the choicest parts, handing her' from time to time the half- 
devoured pieces over his shoulder ; this he does with an air of the 
greatest condescension, without turning round" (Davies, p. 415). 
Lloyd's account is very similar (p. 44): "Hard labour is the 
matrimonial inheritance of the poor gin [wife]. In travelling, the 
task of carrying her infant, the food, and all the worldly goods 
and chattels of the family, devolved upon the wretched woman; 
whilst her lord, with head erect, unburdened except with the spear, 
the (shieldl and waddie, walked proudly in advance of his frail 
tottering slave ; " and so is Calder's (Journ. p. 20) : " They [the 
men] did not allow their wives to participate in the sport, . . . 
they acted only as drudges to carry their spears and the game ; 
but the fishing (for shell fish only . . .) was resigned wholly to 
them. The men considered it beneath them, and left it, and all 
other troublesome services, to them, who, in nine cases out of ten, 


were no better than slaves. If a storm came on unexpectedly, the 
men would sit down while the women built huts over them, in 
which operation, as in all others of a menial nature, the men took 
no part." "The construction and propulsion of the catamaran, 
or boat of the native, was always the work of the women " {ibid. 
p. 22). In P^ron's drawing of the canoe it is propelled by men. 
La Billardi^re relates (II. ch. x. p. 59) that "it gave him and 
his party great pain to see the poor women condemned to the 
severe toil of diving for shell-fish, . . . and often entreated their 
husbands to take a share in their labour at least, but it was always 
in vain. The men remained constantly near the fire, feasting on 
the best bits." " Mr. Horton records an instance of unkindness, 
perhaps not general, nor very uncommon ; it was noon : the 
mother, her infant, and little boy, had been without food all day ; 
the father refused any part of that he had provided. Another 
of the tribe, however, was more generous; when he handed the 
woman a portion, at Mr. Horton's request, before she tasted any 
herself, she fed her child " (West, II. p. 79). The Van Diemen's 
Land Almanac for 1834, p. 78, says the men treat their women 

According to West (I. p. 80) : " They were sensible of domestic 
affections. It once happened that when some eleven fugitives 
were detained at Richmond, at the end of the war of extermi- 
nation, Mr. Gilbert brought up two others, a man and woman; 
they were recognized from afar by the party first taken; these 
raised the cry of welcome ; it was a family meeting, and deeply 
moved the spectators. The parents embraced their children with 
rapture and many tears." 

The arrival of the first white men, chiefly sealers, without any 
female companions, naturally led to close relations between the 
aboriginal women and the sealers. ** These connections became so 
common, that the Governor, . . . thinking to do an act of justice 
by setting these women at liberty, ordered them to be sent back 
to their tribes ; but the magistrates charged with the carrying out 
of the decree were so moved by the despair and the prayers of 
these poor creatures, that they demanded fresh orders, and things 
remained as before" (Laplace, III. ch. xviii. pp. 202-203), and in 
Jeffreys (pp. 1 18-119), we find the following words bearing on 
these liaisons : ** The author had several opportunities of learning 
from the females, that their husbands act towards them with con- 
siderable harshness and tyranny. These women are known some- 
times to run away from that state of bondage and oppression to 


which they say their husbands subject them. In these cases they 
will attach themselves to the English sailors. . . . They give their 
European protectors to understand that their own husbands make 
them carry all their lumber, force them out to hunt, and make 
them perform all manner of work; and that they find their 
situation greatly improved by attaching themselves to the sealing 


'* Practising throwing small spears, and other savage exercises, 
appear to be the whole education and employment of the children." 
Beyond this statement of Davies (p. 412) we have no knowledge 
of the way in which their children were brought up. La Billar- 
di^re " observed in the children the greatest subordination to their 
parents" (II. ch. x. p. 60). The women had the entire care of 
the children, and the natives were extremely fond of their offspring 
(Van Diemen's Land Almanac, 1834, p. 78). On one occasion 
a French party alarmed the children, upon which La Billardi^re 
remarks (II. ch. x. pp. 54-55): "The least of the children, 
frightened at the sight of such a number of Europeans, immediately 
took refuge in the arms of their mothers, who lavished on them 
marks of the greatest affection. The fears of the children were 
soon removed ; and they showed us, that they were not exempt 
from little passions, whence arose differences, to which the 
mothers almost immediately put an end by slight correction ; but 
they soon found it necessary to stop their tears by caresses." 
"I shall not pass over in silence the correction a father gave 
one of his children for having thrown a stone at the back of 
another younger than himself: it was merely a light slap upon 
the shoulder, which made him shed tears, and prevented him 
doing so again " {Ibid. II. ch. x. p. 48). On the other hand, it 
is reported (Widowson, p. 190): "So careless are they of their 
children, that it is not uncommon to see boys grown up, with 
feet exhibiting the loss of a toe or two, having, when infants, 
been dropped into the fire by the mother." 

Initiatory Ceremonies. 

Nothing is known concerning any initiatory rites practised by 
the Tasmanians. Davies (p. 412) tells us that when "the males 
arrive at the age of puberty, they are deeply scarified on the 
shoulders, thighs, and muscles of the breast." 



Some natives were observed, in "whom one of the middle 
teeth of the upper jaw was wanting, and others in whom both 
were gone. We could not learn the object of this custom ; but 
it is not general, for the greater part of the people had all their 
teeth " (La Billardi^re, II. ch. xi. p. 76). Henderson says : (Bk. II. 
p. 148) : "The extraction of one of the front teeth from the males 
is not practised in Van Diemen's Land." An examination of the 
skulls in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons shows 
that, in so far as the skulls there collected are concerned, the 
Tasmanians were not in the habit of knocking out a front tooth. 
Jeffreys mentions that the Tasmanian women did not practise 
the custom which prevails in the other colonies of New Holland, 
of cutting off part of the little finger (p. 1 20). Marion mentions 
that the natives he saw were not circumcised (p. 28), and he is 
the only author who refers to circumcision. 


As the members of d'Entrecasteaux's expedition, with one ex- 
ception, did not anywhere come across human bones, they con- 
cluded that the natives buried their dead (Rossel, I. ch. iv. p. 56). 
Some human bones were once found amongst the ashes of a fire 
made by the natives. Several bones of the pelvis were pronounced 
by their form to have been part of the skeleton of a young woman ; 
some of them were still covered with pieces of broiled flesh (La 
Billardiere, I. ch. v. p. 205). 

It was left to P^ron to make the remarkable discovery, at 
Cape Maurouard, of the very curious way in which the aborigines 
buried some of their dead. " On a large piece of green sward, 
under the shadow of some old Casuarinas, a cone was raised, 
roughly made of bark, fixed into the ground at the lower 
end, and joined at the top by a band of the same materials. 
Four long poles, fixed at one end in the ground, served to 
support all the bark under which they were placed: these four 
poles seemed also intended to serve as an ornament to the 
structure; for instead of being united at the top like the bark, 
and so forming a simple cone, they were crossed at a little more 
than half of their length, that is to say, precisely at the point of 
their projection beyond the roof of the monument. From this 
arrangement a sort of tetragonal pyramid resulted, on the apex of 


which appeared an inverted cone. ... At each of the four sides of 
this pyramid there was a broad strip of bark, of which the two ends 
were bound below by the big band which bound all the others at 
the top. The result was, that each of these four strips formed a 
sort of bow, more pointed at the lower end, and large and rounder 
on the top ; as each of these bows corresponded with one of the 
sides of the pyramid, it can be easily imagined what elegance and 
picturesqueness such an arrangement would oflfer. ... I took off 
some of the thick pieces of bark and easily penetrated right under 
the cover. The whole of the upper portion was free ; at the bottom 
there was a large flattened cone, formed of a light and fine grass, 
arranged, with much care, in concentric and very deep layers. . . . 
Eight small wooden wands, crossing one another at the top of this 
cone of grass, served to hold it together; every wand had 
its ends pushed into the ground, and was held down by a large 
piece of flat granite. . . . Hardly had I raised some of the upper 
layers of grass when I perceived a large heap of white ashes which 
appeared to have been collected with care ; T plunged my hand 
into the middle of them; I felt something which resisted more 
strongly ; I wished to draw it out ; it was a human jaw-bone, on 
to which some shreds of flesh were still adhering. . . . This 
verdure, these flowers, the protecting trees, the deep layer of 
young grass which covered the ashes, all united in convincing 
me that I had just discovered a tomb. As I removed the 
ashes, I noticed a very black, friable, and light charcoal ; I 
recognized animal charcoal ; at the same moment I drew out 
a portion of a femur with some shreds of flesh; one could still 
distinguish fragments of large arteries full of calcined blood, 
reduced to that state at which this fluid resembles a resinous 
substance. These first bones were succeeded by others no less 
recognizable; vertebrae, fragments of the tibia, humerus, tarsal 
and carpal bones, etc., they were all much changed by fire, and 
were easily reduced to powder. . . . These bones were not lying, as 
I had at first thought, simply on the surface of the earth ; they 
were collected at the bottom of a circular hole, 40 to 48 centi- 
metres (15 to 18 inches) in diameter, and 21 to 27 centimetres 
(8 to 10 inches) deep. ... At the foot of the hill on which this 
monument was erected, there was a brook of sweet, fresh, and 
limpid water. . . . This monument, the only one we had been able 
to discover on these shores, appeared to have been a memorial 
structure. . . . The tomb which I had just been observing was 
situated in that part of Eastern Bay which alone could have afforded 



US fresh water ; at this same point, also, the large shell-fish, which 
formed the aborigines* daily food, was more abundant. This 
presumption with regard to the deliberate choice of the position 
of the tomb was strengthened by an observation I made on the 
following day in Oyster Bay, regarding a similar structure, which 
was also placed on an eminence, at the foot of which ran a fresh- 
water stream, the only one we had been able to discover along the 
whole stretch of the latter bay. The same feeling, therefore, 
which consecrated these monuments, caused them to be erected 
in the most interesting and cherished spots, and where, brought 
thither frequently by his wants, man would most strongly ex- 
perience the desire for commemoration. . . . The drawing of this 
tomb, made with great exactitude by M. Petit and finished by 
M. Lesueur, leaves nothing to be desired regarding the details of 
this structure and the pleasant view from the hill on the top of which 
it was situated. I have spoken of a second tomb which we visited 
next day in Oyster Bay. ... I will describe in a few words its 
peculiarities. Placed on a slight eminence, at the foot of which 
ran a fresh-water stream, . . . this second monument differed in 
the main but little from the one I have just described ; but being 
older than the former, its shape was less regular ; the poles which 
should have supported the bark had fallen with it; the grass 
covering the ashes was greatly changed by the moisture of the 
atmosphere : otherwise, the bones and ashes were arranged in 
much the same way as those in the tomb at Eastern Bay. 
The only peculiarity deserving of careful note was, that on the 
inner surface of some of the best and largest pieces of bark 
some characters were crudely marked, similar to those which the 
aborigines tattooed [stc'} on their forearms. 

** From the nature of these monuments one must not be surprised 
at the small number of them met with. The bark protecting them 
is soon destroyed by the action of the atmosphere or dispersed by 
the winds. The tender grass which covers the ashes is not long in 
decomposing ; and the ashes themselves, partially scattered, would 
soon present the appearance of a fire having been recently lighted 
there ; and, as the bones had been collected at the bottom of a 
hole, they remain naturally buried, and would not be met with on 
the surface of the earth. Added to which, the thorough burning 
they had been subjected to necessarily hastened their decom- 
position and complete annihilation" (P6ron, ch. xiii. pp. 265- 

The only other account of a sepulchre is given by Braim 


(II. ch. vi. pp. 266-269), taken from Jorgensen's Journal : 
•* Mungo, our black guide, . . . conducted us to a number of 
large rocks . . . extremely diflScult of access. Under one of 
these projecting rocks, we found a species of cave, where Mungo 
pointed to a heap of flagstones, round which were placed, in a 
very compact manner, pieces of gum-bark, the whole appearing 
as a small pyramid. This was a grave, and in the middle of it 
was deposited a spear, pointed to the depth of two feet, and the 
upper end of it pointed with a human bone. We opened the 
grave with our bayonets, and, in so doing, met with several layers 
of flat stones. ... At the bottom, we found some human bones, 
which, from the state they were in, clearly indicated that they had 
for a long time remained in the grave. . . . Mungo did not 
behold unmoved our sacreligious invasion of the solemn and 
silent repository of one of his countrymen, whom he described 
as a great warrior from the circumstances of his burial. When 
I asked Mungo the reason of the spear being struck into the 
tomb, he replied quietly, 'To fight with when he is asleep.' 
He also confirmed the opinion that the aborigines buried their 
dead in an erect position." Milligan (Beacon, pp. 30-31) says: 
" Some of the tribes were in the habit of burning the remains ; 
in which cases the ashes were sometimes taken up ver}' carefully, 
and carried about as an amulet, to ward off" sickness, and to insure 
success in hunting and in war. Other tribes placed their dead in 
hollow trees, surrounded with implements of the chase and war, 
building them in with pieces of wood gathered in the neighbour- 
hood; while others would look out for natural graves, made by 
the upturn of large trees, and there deposit the bodies of their 
dead, leaving them but slightly covered with stones and loose 
earth." According to Holman (IV. ch. xii. p. 404): "If they 
cannot find a tree which decay has fitted for their purpose, 
they, by the use of fire, procure a cavity sufficiently large for 
the occasion." " Other tribes, again, when it was not convenient 
to carry off" the dead body to some place of interment, would put 
it into some hollow tree, in as upright a position as possible ; and 
to preserve him in this position, a spear was stuck through his 
neck into the tree. Another spear was left with the dead" 
(Braim, II. ch. vi. p. 268). Mr. Meredith, in describing the 
only instance he knew of in which a native lost his life at the 
hands of the whites, says: "The man who had the gun fired 
at the foremost native, and shot him dead : the others ran to 
their fallen companion, and our men escaped." Afterwards these 


Europeans "returned to the place where the black was shot. 
The other natives had dragged his body into a hollow tree, 
and covered it with dead wood, but none of them were then 
to be seen" (pp. 199-200). Gilbert Robertson's words (Colonies 
and Slaves, p. 48) are to the same effect. Davis (p. 417) does not 
quite agree with the above accounts; he says: "When a death 
occurs in a tribe, they place the body upright in ^ hollow tree, 
and (having no fixed habitations) pursue their avocations. When 
some time has passed, say a year or upwards, they return to the 
place and bum the body, with the exception of the skull; this 
they carry with them, until they chance (for I do not think they 
lose much time in seeking it) to fall in with a cemetery, in which 
a number of skulls are heaped together, when they add the one 
with them to the number, and cover them up with bark, leaves, 
etc. They do not bury them in the ground. I have never been 
able to ascertain that they put either weapons or food in the tree 
with the dead." The same author continues (p. 418): "During 
the whole of the first night, after the death of one of their tribe, 
they will sit round the body, using rapidly a low continuous 
recitation to prevent the evil spirit from taking it away. They are 
extremely jealous of this ceremony being witnessed by strangers ; 
but I had, upon one occasion, an opportunity of being an ear- 
witness of it the whole night." 

The lighting of a funeral pyre is thus described by Back- 
house, who was on the spot shortly after the event occurred 
at the aboriginal settlement after the war. He says (p. 105): 
" One of the women died. The men formed a pile of logs, 
and at sunset placed the body of the woman upon it, sup- 
ported by small wood, which concealed her, and formed a 
pyramid. They then placed their sick people around the pile, 
at a short distance. On A. Cottrell, our informant, inquiring the 
reason of this, they told him the dead woman would come in the 
night and take the 'devil' out of them. At daybreak the pile 
was set on fire, and fresh wood added as any part of the body 
became exposed, till the whole was consumed. The ashes of the 
dead were collected in a kangaroo skin, and every morning, before 
sunrise, till they were consumed, a portion of them was smeared 
over the faces of the survivors, and a death song sung, with gieat 
emotion, tears clearing away lines among the ashes. The store 
of ashes, in the mean time, was suspended about one of their 
necks. ... A few days after the decease of this woman, a man, 
who was ill at the time, stated that he should die when the sun 




went down, and requested the other men would bring wood 
and form a pile. While the work was going forward, he rested 
against some logs that were to form part of it, to see them execute 
the work : he became worse as the day proceeded and died before 
night. The practice of burning the dead is said to have extended 
to the natives of Bruny Island; but those of the east coast put 
the deceased into hollow trees, and fenced them in with bushes. 
They do not consider a person completely dead till the sun goes 
down 1 " 

According to West (II. p. 91): "A group of blacks was 
watched in 1829, while engaged in a funeral. A fire was made 
at the foot of a tree; a naked infant was carried in procession, 
with loud cries and lamentations ; when the body was decom- 
posed in the flames, the skull was taken up by a female, probably 
the mother. The skull was long worn, wrapped in kangaroo 
skin." On one occasion Robinson, the protector, found on his 
return that a woman having died, her body had been immediately 
burned by her husband. He mentions that the body was placed 
in a sitting posture. The husband's turn was soon to come. 
This dying man had a keen perception of his approaching end, 
and when he knew it was at hand, his last desire was to be 
removed into the open air to die by his fire. Robinson says he 
was busy preparing for his departure for Hobart Town for medical 
assistance, when the groans of this man ceased, and with them 
the noise of the other natives. "A solemn stillness prevailed. 
... I went out when he had just expired. The other natives 
were sitting round, and some were employed in gathering grass. 
They then bent the legs back against the thigh, and bound them 
together with twisted grass. Each arm was bent together, and 
bound round above the elbow. The funeral pile was made by 
placing some dry wood at the bottom, on which they laid some 
dry bark, then placed some more dry wood, raising it about two 
feet six inches above the ground ; a quantity of dry bark was 
then laid upon the logs, upon which they laid the corpse, arching 
the whole over with dry wood, men and women assisting in 
kindling the fire, after which they went away, and did not 
approach the spot any more that day. The next morning I 
went with them to see the remains . . . ; they were then collected 
and burnt. I wished them to have burnt the body on the same 
spot where his body had been burnt, . . . but they did not seem 
at all willing, so I did not urge it. After the fire had been 
burnt out, the ashes were scraped together, and covered over 


with grass and dead sticks" (Calder, Joum. pp. 16-18). This 
haste to get the dead bodies of their friends burned as soon as 
possible is referred to by Braim (II. ch. vi. p. 226): "Those to 
the south were burned, a large pile of wood having previously 
been heaped up and set fire to ; for scarcely was the body dead 
before it was placed among the flames, and even when it appeared 
that a native could not long survive, preparations were made 
for consuming the body the very moment life had fled." He 
adds : ** The aborigines could assign no other reason for burying 
their dead in an erect posture except custom." 

"Among themselves they have no funeral rites' (Widowson, 
p. 191). This is the only reference I have found relating to 
funeral rites. 



Method of Wearing the Hair. 

The following accounts describe the method of wearing the 
hair. Anderson says, " Their hair is perfectly woolly and clotted ^ 
or divided Into s mall par cels, with the use of some sort_qf j^rass, 
imxed witTTa red paint or ochre^^ which t hey smear on _tllfiil- 
EeadsT ^anJ Backhouse (p. 78), " The men clotted their hair with 
red ochre and grease ; and had the ringlets drawn out like rat- 
tails." According to Davies, "The men allow their hair to 
grow very long, matting each lock separately with grease and 
ochre." Practically the way the men wore their hair was unlike 
that of any other people. Judging from drawings, etc., they 
appear to have dressed their hair into thin spiral ringlets about 
three to four inches long, and described as follows by various 
travellers: — Anderson says (Cook's Third Voy. Bk. I. cL.yL): 
"Their hair is perfectly woolly, and clotted or divided into 
small parcels with the use of some sort of grass, mixed with^a 
red paint or ochre, which they smear on their heads*^" Marion 
speaks of it being tied in Vnois—peloions (p. 28). "The men 
allowed their hair to grow very long, and plastered it all over 
v^ry thickly with a composition of red ochre and grease, and 
when it dried a little their locks hung down so as to resemble 
a bundle of painted ropes" (Calder, Joum. p. 20). While Back- 
house says (p. 79) : " The men clotted their hair with red ochre 
and grease, and had the ringlets drawn out like rat-tails." " The 
men wore it long, and gave it a mop-like form and appearance 
by smearing it with fat of the wombat and kangaroo, and then 
daubing it full of red ochre, by which it was made to hang in 
corkscrews all around, and over the face and neck down to the 
shoulders" (Milligan, Beacon, p. 28). 


The women wore their hair differently to the men, thus, 
according to Anderson: "The females differed from the men, 
that though their hair was of the same colour and texture, some 
of them had their heads completely shorn ; in others this had 
been done only on one side ; while the rest of them had all the 
upper part of the head shorn close, leaving a circle of hair all 
round" (Cook's Third Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.). Backhouse (p. 79) 
also states that " the women cropped their hair as close as they 
could with sharp stones or shells." Davies' description is much 
to the same effect: "The hair of the female appears more 
woolly than that of the male ; this is probably owing to the 
female keeping her hair cut extremely close, leaving a narrow 
circle all round, as if a basin had been put over the head, 
and the hair inside of it cut away." In describing, a friendly 
meeting with twenty female aborigines, P6ron (p. 252) says, 
"Their hair was short, frizzled, black and dirty, reddened in 
some with ochre." Calder says (Joum. p. 20): "The women 
appeared to great disadvantage, by their fashion of shaving the 
head quite closely, which in their wild state was done with flmt 
and shells, and afterwards with glass." The women "carefully 
prevent the hair from growing to any great length, by cutting 
it off with the sharp edges of two pieces of broken crystal" 
(Jeffreys, p. 119). Speaking generally Lloyd thus describes their 
toilet customs (pp. 43-44) : " During the summer months it was 
cut singularly close to the skin by means of sharp flint stones ; but 
latterly, with the more artistic appliances of broken glass bottles. 
The tedious ceremony was accomplished by severing ten or twenty 
hairs at each incision. A similar process was adopted in native 
shaving and performed with such skill and precision as seldom, if 
ever, to excoriate the skin ; but it occupied the sable barber at 
least three hours to turn off a moderate-sized head in proper trim 
for a grand corroboret or dance." " They never suffer their hair to 
grow very long. This they prevent by cutting it off frequently 
with sharp shells or pieces of broken crystal" (Leigh, IIL 
p. 243). La Billardi^re (IL 59-60), in describing how the natives 
break pieces of wood over their heads, says : " Their hair forms 
a cushion, which diminishes the pressure, and renders it much less 
painful. . . . Few of the women, however, could have done as 
much; for some had the hair cut pretty short, . . . others had 
only a simple crown of hair. We made the same observation 
with respect to several of the children, but none of the men." 

Milligan (Beacon, p. 25) speaks of the "hair growing remark- 


ably low upon the forehead, and extending down, in both sexes, 
on each side of the temples, in the shape of a whisker." 

Strzelecki tells us (p. 334): ** The hair is subject to filthy 
customs. I allude to the anointing of the head with a mixture 
of clay, red ochre, and fish grease, in order to prevent the gene- 
ration of vermin." There seems to be no proof that the greasing 
and the colouring of the hair noticed also by Cook (as above), 
Widowson (p. 187), Flinders (Sec. iv. p. 187), Melville (p. 346), 
La Billardi^re (II. ch. xi. p. 73), P^ron (ch. xiii. p. 280) and 
Marion (p. 28), was resorted to on account of the cause ascribed 
by Strzelecki. 

Foumeaux refers to the men smearing their beards with a 
red ointment, and P^ron (p. 222) refers to an old man whose 
beard was partly grey. La Billardi6re (I. pp. 222) says some 
had long beards, and later on (II. p. 38) that they let their 
beards grow. The beards of the men are shown in most illus- 

Painting and Tattooing. 

Most of the early travellers refer to the peculiar scars with 
which these people adorned themselves. Marion speaks of some 
sorts of designs incrusted in their skin on the chest (p. 28), and 
says (p. 31) that one savage had his chest gashed like the 
Mozambique Kaffirs. Flinders (sec. iv. p. 187), while sailing 
up the Derwent River, met with a native who had marks raised 
upon the skin. Bligh speaks (p. 51) of their skin being scarified 
about their shoulders and breast. Mortimer (p. 19) observed 
several of them [fifteen natives] to be tattooed [szc] in a very curious 
manner, the skin being raised so as to form a kind of relief. 
"The shoulders and breasts were marked by lines of short raised 
scars, caused by cutting through the skin and rubbing in charcoal. 
These cuts somewhat resembled the marks made by a cupping 
instrument, but were much larger and further apart" (Calder, 
Joum. p. 20). Milligan (Beacon, p. 29) tells us of the "sym- 
metrical lines of scars raised by incisions made, and long kept 
open, across the chest, and upon the arms and thighs, a practice 
to which the women appear often to have submitted, though more 
characteristic of the men their masters." Davies (p. 414) says he 
has seen the women scarified, " but whether for ornament, or from 
surgical treatment, I know not." Anderson (Cook's Second Voy. 


Bk. I. ch. vi.) relates they are ** masters of some contrivance in the 
manner of cutting their arms and bodies in lines of different 
lengths and directions, which are raised considerably above the 
surface of the skin, so that it is difficult to guess the method they 
use in executing this embroidery of their persons ; " and Cook 
himself says [ibid) : ** They wore no ornaments, unless we consider 
as such some large punctures or ridges raised on different parts of 
their bodies, some in straight, others in curved lines. . . . The 
women had their bodies marked with scars in the same manner." 
La Billardi^re, in speaking of a party of natives (II. ch. xi. p. 76), 
says : " Almost all of them were tattooed [sic] with raised points, 
sometimes placed in two lines, one over the other, much in the 
shape of a horse-shoe ; though frequently these points were in three 
straight and parallel lines on each side of the breast : some were 
observed, too, toward the bottom of the shoulder-blades, and in 
other places." He also speaks (p. 73) of a man " so tattooed [sic] 
with great symmetry." The reader will perhaps think it hardly 
correct to term this class of ornamentation tatooing. Previous to 
this La Billardi^re has related (II. ch. x. p. 38) : " On their skin, 
particularly on the breast and shoulders, may be observed tubercles 
symmetrically arranged, exhibiting sometimes lines four inches in 
length, at other times points placed at different distances. The 
application, by which these risings were produced, had not 
destroyed the cellular membrane, however, for they were of the 
same colour as the rest of the skin." Backhouse (p. 84) describes 
these ornamental scars thus: "The blacks m^e symmetrical 
cuttings on their bodies and limbs, for ornament. They keep the 
cuts open by filling them with grease, until the flesh becomes 
elevated. Rows of these marks, resembling necklaces around the 
neck, and similar ones on the shoulder, representing epaulets, are 
frequently seen. Rings representing eyes are occasionally seen on 
the body, producing a rude similitude of a face." "When the 
males arrive at the age of puberty, they are deeply scarified on 
the thighs, shoulders, and muscles of the breast, with a sharp 
flint or glass. When I witnessed the operation, a female was 
the operator, and such, I believe, is always the case. The subject 
was a young man named Penderoine, brother to the celebrated 
western chief Weymerricke ; the instrument was a piece of broken 
bottle, and, although the fat of his shoulder literally rose and 
turned back like a crimped fish, he was, during the whole 
operation, in the highest glee, laughing, and continually in- 
terrupting his operatrix by picking up chips to fling at our 


party, in play. These scarifications are intended as ornaments" 
(Davies, p. 412). 

"Their bodies appear to be daubed with a kind of dirty red 
paint or earth" (Mortimer, p. 19). "The young men . . . draw a 
circle round each eye, and waved lines down each arm, thigh, and 
leg, which give them a frightful appearance to strangers" (Leigh, 
III. p. 243). Anderson thought (Cook's Sec. Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.) 
that they " sometimes heightened their black colour by smutting 
their bodies, as a mark was left behind on any clean substance, 
such as white paper, when they handled it," and Flinders met a 
savage on the Derwent River whose face was so blackened (Sec. iv. 
p. 187). Marion (p. 31) tells of a savage who on washing turned 
reddish, and it was seen that it was only smoke and dirt which 
made him appear so black. According to Bligh (p. 51), ** One of 
them was distinguished by having his body coloured with red 
ochre, but all the others were painted black, with a kind of soot, 
which was laid on so thick over their faces and shoulders, that it is 
difficult to say what they were like," and Bass describes meeting 
with a native whose face was blackened, and the top of his head 
was plastered with red earth (Collins, ch. xvi. p. 187). Backhouse 
thus describes the painting of a party of sixteen natives (pp. 165- 
i66), "They were smeared from head to foot with red ochre and 
grease ; and, to add to their adornment, some of them had black- 
ened a space of about a hand's breadth on each side of their faces, 
their eyes being nearly in the centre of each black mark," and he 
tells the following funny story : " John R. Bateman, master of the 
brig Tamar, once had some soup made for a party of these people 
whom he was taking to Flinders Island. They looked upon it 
complacently, skimmed off the floating fat with their hands, and 
smeared their hair with it, but would not drink the soup I " Else- 
where (p. 104) he says, "These people not only smear their bodies 
with red ochre and grease, but sometimes rouge the prominent 
parts tastefully with the former article, and they draw lines, that 
by no means improve their appearance, with a black, glittering 
mineral, probably an ore of antimony, above and below their eyes." 
He believed that this greasing and colouring had other uses than 
mere ornamentation, for he tells us (p. 79), " To enable them to 
resist the changes of the weather, they smeared themselves from 
head to foot with red ochre and grease." Davis (p. 140) gives a 
like explanation ; " The men grease their bodies, and streak them 
with red ochre, and a variety of plumbago ; this is partly done for 
ornament, but they say that it in a great measure protects them 


from the inclemency of the weather." " Oure-Our^ [P^ron's friend] 
showed us for the first time the kind of paint in these regions, and 
the manner of its application. Having taken some charcoal in 
her hands, she reduced it to very fine powder; then, putting it 
in her left hand, she took some in her right, rubbed first of all 
her forehead, and then both her cheeks, and in a moment 
made herself black enough to frighten one : what seemed to us 
most singular was the complacency with which this young girl 
appeared to regard us after this operation, and the confident air 
which this new ornament had spread over her physiognomy" 
(Peron, pp. 227-228). 

In describing the twenty females already referred to, P6ron 
remarks : "Their skin was black and disgusting from the fat of the 
catfish . . . their faces daubed with charcoal" (p. 252). They 
were delighted to paint the faces of the early explorers, and both 
P6ron*s and La Billardi6re's friends suffered under their hands. 
P6ron thus describes the scene (ch. xii. pp. 252-253): "The 
woman who had just been dancing had hardly finished, when she 
approached me with an air of kindness, took out of her rush 
basket . . . some charcoal which was in it, crushed it in her 
hand, and began to apply to me a coating of the ordinary paint 
of these regions. I lent myself willingly to this benevolent caprice. 
M. Heirisson . . . received a similar mark. We then appeared 
to be an object of grand admiration to the women ; they seemed 
to regard us with a sweet satisfaction and to congratulate us 
on the new ornaments which we had acquired." This is La 
Billardi^re's account of the operation performed on one of his 
party (IL ch. x. p. 48): "The painter to the expedition expressed 
to these savages the wish to have his skin covered like theirs with 
powder of charcoal. His request . . . was favourably received, and 
immediately one of the natives selected some of the most friable 
coals, which he ground to powder by rubbing them between his 
hands. This powder he applied to all parts of the body that were 
uncovered, employing nothing to make it adhere beside the rub- 
bing of the hand, and our friend P6ron was presently as black as a 
New Hollander.^ The savage appeared highly satisfied with his 
performance, which he finished by gently blowing off the dust that 
adhered very slightly, taking particular care to remove all that 
might have got into the eyes." 

^ The early explorers all considered the abori[;ines of Tasmania of the same 
race as the Australians. 


La Billardi^re met some women whose abdomen was marked 
with three large semicircular risings, one above the other (II. ch. x. 

P- 57)- 

With regard to the material used by them : on one occasion at 
a meeting of the Royal Society of Tasmania, •* Mr. Gunn exhibited 
specimens of Iron Glance, obtained by Joseph Milligan, Esq., from 
near the Housetop Tier, Hampshire Hills, being the only locality 
known in the Island. This mineral was used by the aborigines of 
Tasmania for the purpose of colouring themselves, and from its 
scarcity much valued by them." P6ron records (ch. xiii. p. 300), 
** Amongst the mineral productions of Maria Island one must 
mention a sort of oxidized iron ore, of a beautiful reddish colour, 
with an earthy grain and a clayey look, which is found on 
different parts of the island, and which furnished the aborigines 
with the chief ingredient which they used for dyeing [sic] their 
hair red." 


Cook found the aborigines quite naked, adding, "The females 
wore a kangaroo skin tied over the shoulders and round the waist. 
But its chief use seemed to be to support their children when 
carried on their backs, they being in all other respects as naked as 
the men." This surmise of Cook is supported by P6ron, who says 
he met with ** two female aborigines, who were absolutely naked, 
except that the younger one had on a kangaroo skin in which she 
carried her little girl" (p. 223). Bligh (p. 51), Marion du Fresne 
(p. 28), Prinsep (p. 79), and Mortimer (p. 19), say the natives were 
entirely naked ; the latter qualifying his remark by excepting some 
of the women who had a kind of cloak or bag thrown over their 
shoulders. A certain minimum amount of clothing appears to 
have been used at times. Flinders recorded seeing "two natives, 
a man and a woman, who had something wrapped round them 
which resembled cloaks of skin" (p. 155). Bass mentions that 
"he saw two females, who had a short covering, hanging loose 
from their shoulders" (Collins, p. 187); while Laplace also says: 
** For defending themselves against the cold and wet, they have 
only a cloak, made of skin, sewn together with threads of bark. 
This coarse and disgusting clothing hardly covers the back " (HI. 
p. 201). Widowson observes, that "their only covering is a few 
kangaroo skins, rudely stitched, and thrown over the shoulders ; " 


and he adds, that "more frequently they appear in a state of 
nudity" (p. 187); while Lloyd tells us (p. 48) that "the thick, 
woolly-haired skins of the large opossum, and the skin of the 
kangaroo, formed the only description of garment patronized by 
the aborigines." Other writers attribute the little clothing they 
wore to the absolute necessity of protecting themselves against 
the cold. Leigh's evidence is to the fact that, "In the winter, 
the men dress themselves in the dried skins of the kangaroo. 
The females are clothed in the same kind of garment, with the 
addition of ruffles, made also of the skin, and placed in front 
of the garment. The dress is fastened on by means of a 
string over the shoulders and round the waist. In the summer 
season their clothing is useless, and therefore cast off till 
winter returns" (III. p. 243). Jeffreys confirms this statement 
(pp. 125-126) thus: "During the winter season the natives 
dress themselves in kangaroo skins, and the females are always 
partially clad in a robe of the same kind, cut and decorated 
with lesser pieces in front, the whole fastened over the shoulders 
with a sort of string, and round the waist with a similar band." 
Milligan says: "They wore no clothing whatever, except only 
in case of illness, when a kangaroo skin was put on, with the 
fur inwards, laced together in a way to fit the body" (Beacon, 
p. 25). With regard to the women, this writer tells us "they went 
about usually quite bald, and devoid of covering. . . . They wore 
a strip of the skin of the wallaby or kangaroo under the knee 
or around the wrist or ankle" (Jbtd, pp. 28-29). La Billardi^re 
describes most of the savages seen by him and his ship's company 
as being absolutely naked; but on one occasion he met with 
some who had the skin of a kangaroo wrapped about their 
shoulders (I. p. 222). In another place he says: "Some of our 
men came to a large fire, around which eight savages, each of 
whom had a kangaroo skin wrapped round his shoulders, sat 
warming themselves. ... An old woman . . . had the skin of a 
kangaroo wrapped about her shoulders ; she had likewise another 
of these skins bound round her waist in the form of an apron " 
(I. pp. 234-235). At a subsequent interview with a party of the 
natives, he describes their dress [?] as follows : " The women were 
for the most part as entirely naked as the men. Some of them 
only had the shoulders and part of the back covered with a 
kangaroo skin, worn with the hair next the body; and among 
these we noticed two, each of whom had an infant at the breast. 
The sole garment of one was a strip of kangaroo's skin, about two 


inches broad, which was wrapped six or seven times round the 
waist; another had a collar of skin round the neck, and some 
had a slender cord bound several times round the head" (II. 
pp. 34-35). P^ron says: "The absence of clothing did not seem 
to cause the women any embarrassment even in the presence of 
strangers," and the same author mentions that "another young 
girl, called Ouri-Ouri^ was, like her parents, perfectly naked, and did 
not seem in the least to suspect that there could be possibly 
anything immodest or indecent in this absolute nudity" (p. 227). 
In describing another meeting with twenty female aborigines, his 
words are : " With the exception of kangaroo skins, which some 
of them wore on their shoulders, all these women were perfectly 
naked; but without appearing to regard their nakedness in the 
least, they so varied their attitudes and postures that it would be 
difficult to form a just idea of the bizarreness and picturesqueness 
which this meeting afforded us" (p. 252). A third party of savages 
whom P6ron met with was also perfectly naked. One alone, older 
than the rest, had a kangaroo skin on his shoulders (pp. 279-280). 
Rossel says : ** Some of the sailors saw some savages, . . . among 
whom was a woman, who, ... a remarkable circumstance, had 
the throat and the private parts covered." Like the others, he 
suspected the severity of the season, rather than decency, caused 
the one seen to take this precaution (I. pp. 99-100). Rossel also 
mentions (I. p. 60) the finding in a hut of a piece of dried Alga 
marina^ which he thought was designed to cover the natural 
parts, but we know this alga was used as a drinking vessel. From 
Mr. R. Thirkell we learn that " the natives had merely a piece of 
kangaroo skin round their loins, or rather hanging in front, with 
no other covering," this being the only reference we have to a 

The natives appear not to have been in the habit of using 
any covering for the head. La Billardi6re remarking, that their 
heads were constantly bare, and often exposed to all weathers 

(II. p. 59). 

As regards any coverings for the feet, we have only West's 
testimony (p. 85): "The tribes . . . from South Cape to Cape 
Grim . . . wore mocassins on travel." 

The Tasmanians, like many other savage races, never took 
kindly to the civilized dress of Europeans. When the English 
first established a colony in Van Diemen*s Land, many efforts 
were made to induce them to make use of clothing as a matter 
of decency, but they were almost all unsuccessful. Widowson 



tells us, they never avail themselves of the purposes for which 
apparel is given them (p. i88); while Breton relates: "They show 
no small aversion to clothing their sable-like bodies in a Christian- 
like manner, and availed themselves, when taken, of the earliest 
opportunity to escape, at the same time throwing away their clothes 
the moment they get into the bush" (p. 352). 

Personal Ornaments. 

Although Cook says they wore no ornaments, he states : " Some 
of the group [men] wore loose round their necks three or four 
folds of small cord, made of the fur of some animal ; and others 
of them had a narrow slip of kangaroo skin tied round their 
ancles" (Third Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.); and Backhouse says: "They 
sometimes ornamented themselves by strips of skin with the fur 
on, which they wore around the body, arms or legs" (p. 79). 
According to Dove a love of ornament was displayed in the 
flowers and feathers with which the heads of both sexes were 
generally found to be attired" (I. p. 252); while Milligan 
(Beacon, p. 28) observes of the women: "They wore a fillet 
of gay flowers, of festoons of showy berries, or strings of shells 
upon their bare heads." " The young men fasten to their woolly 
locks the teeth of the kangaroo, short pieces of wood, and 
feathers of birds, which give them a savage appearance" (Leigh, 
III. p. 243). "They wear necklaces formed of kangaroo sinews 
rolled in red ochre, and also others of small spiral shells. They 
likewise wear the bones of deceased relatives around their necks, 
perhaps more as tokens of affection than for ornament. . . . 
The shells for necklaces are of a brilliant pearly blue : they 
are perforated by means of the eye-teeth, and are strung on 
a kangaroo sinew ; they are then exposed to the action of 
pyroligneous acid, in the smoke of brushwood covered up with 
grass ; and in this smoke they are turned and rubbed till the 
external coat comes off", after which they are polished with oil 
obtained from the penguin or the mutton-bird" (Backhouse, 
p. 84). Davies says the shells were polished with grease and 
sand (p. 418). According to Calder (Joum. p. 23) in their 
captivity to get rid of the outer crust " they used vinegar. 
I think a moderate heat was necessary in removing this outer 
covering, for, on visiting their huts when they were preparing 


them, a woman handed me a saucer of them, which she took 
from the fireplace." The necklaces are thus described by Mrs. 
Meredith (p. 146) : " A pretty little white Columbella, common 
here, used to be much collected by the female aborigines, for 
making necklaces ; some of which were several yards long, formed 
of these little shells neatly bored, and strung closely on kangaroo 
sinews, and were worn by their sable owners twisted many times y 
round the neck, and hanging low over the breast." y 





It would seem from a statement of La Billardi6re's (II. p. 61) 
that the Tasmanians had some idea of regulating time by the 
apparent motion of the sun. He says some savages gave him to 
understand that in two days time they should be very near the 
ships. To inform La Billardi^re that they should make the journey 
in two days, they pointed out with their hands the diurnal motion 
of the sun, and expressed the number two by as many of their 
fingers. This is the only reference to any knowledge of the move- 
ments of the heavenly bodies. 

The numerals appear to reach as far as hve, thus : 










Oyster Bay. 

Mount Royal. 









parmere ) 



1 1 1 1 1||: 1 








^ Given thus in Jorgensen, and said to be taken from La Billardi^re, in whose 
vocabulary we cannot find it. It is probably Australian. 
' Also given as ** many." 

* The way in which the vocabulary attributed to P^n has drifted down to 
us makes it of doubtful value, and we are inclined to think this word Australian 
and not Tasmanian. 

* Meaning anything over two (Braim). 


In Milligan's vocabulary he gives, as shown above, the numerals 
for 4 and 5 as pagunta and puggana for Oyster Bay, and wullyawah 
and marah for Mount Royal. In his short sentences he gives 4 
and 5, as for one tribe only, pagunta wulliawah and pugganah 
marah respectively. Hence Fr. Miiller arranges these numerals 

4 pagan-ta-wuliawah, 

5 pagan-a-marah (4 + i ), 

and allows that the natives counted to four only. If, however, 
marah by itself is incorrect for 5, then pugga-na marah may pro- 
bably be the numeral five, being literally man one {pugga, man; 
na, singular ending; mara, one). Backhouse (p. 104) says the 
aborigines could only say om^ two, plenty, and in order to state 
the number of persons present on any occasion gave their 


Peron's party, being desirous of seeing the effect of music on the 
Tasmanians, on one occasion sung the Marseillaise. " At first the 
savages appeared more troubled than surprised, but after some 
moments of uncertainty, they lent an attentive ear ; the repast was 
suspended, and the proofs of their satisfaction manifested them- 
selves in such bizarre contortions and gestures, that we could 
hardly restrain ourselves from laughing. . . . Hardly was a verse 
finished than great shouts of admiration escaped simultaneously 
from all mouths ; above all, the young man was as if beside him- 
self; he clutched his hair, he scratched his head with both hands, 
he shook himself in a thousand ways, and repeatedly prolonged his 
shouts. After this strong and warlike music we sang some of our 
light and little tender airs ; the savages appeared to grasp the true 
sense, but it was easy to see that sounds of this sort had a very 
slight effect upon their organs" (pp. 226-227). On another 
occasion M. Bellefin, one of his companions, ** began to sing, and 
accompanied himself by lively and animated gestures ; the women 
were immediately silent, observing his gestures with as much 
attention as they appeared to give to his songs. As soon as 
a couplet was finished, some applauded by loud shouts, others 
laughed to splitting, while the young girls, no doubt more timid, 
remained silent, showing nevertheless, by their actions and the 
expression of their faces, their surprise and satisfaction. After 
M. Bellefin had finished his song, one of the women began to 


imitate his gestures and the tone of his voice in a very original 
and funny way, . . . she then herself began to sing, so rapidly that 
it would have been diflBcult to reproduce such music within the 
ordinary principles of our own" {ibid, p. 51). The other French 
parties were not so successful in their attempts to get the natives 
to listen to European music. La Billardi^re (II. ch. x. p. 45) tells 
us : ** Our musician had brought on shore his violin ; . . . but his 
self-love was truly mortified at the indifference shown to his 
performance. Savages, in general, are not very sensible to the 
tones of stringed instruments." Later on, a similar attempt had 
a very comical ending {ibid, p. 55) : ** We knew already that these 
savages had little taste for the violin ; but we flattered ourselves 
that they would not be altogether insensible to its tones, if lively 
tunes, and very distinct in their measure, were played. At first, 
they left us in doubt for some time; on which our musician re- 
doubled his exertions; . . . but the bow dropped from his hand, 
when he beheld the whole assembly stopping their ears with 
their fingers, that they might hear no more." According to this 
traveller the natives attempted " more than once to charm us by 
songs, with the modulation of which I was singularly struck, from 
the great analogy of the tunes to those of Arabs in Asia Minor. 
Several times, two of them sung the same tune together, but always 
one a third above the other, forming a concord with the greatest 
correctness" {ibid, p. 50). 

Respecting their singing Mr. Geo. Hull says : " It was, I think, 
in the year 1824 or 1825, that some ten or twelve natives appeared 
on the west bank of the Tamar, opposite Launceston. They 
•coo-ed* and made signs to be taken across, which was instantly 
complied with. I'here was not a man or boy among them. . . . 
We made signs to them to sing and dance. . . . They sang, all 
joining in concert, and with the sweetest harmony ; the notes not 
more than thirds. They began, say, in D and E, but swelling 
sweetly from note to note, and so gradually that it was a mere 
continuation of harmony — very melancholy, it is true. It was like 
what it would be if you began one chord on the organ before 
you took your fingers from the keys of the other" (Smyth, II. 
pp. S9O-390- 

In describing a corroboree of the natives which took place at 
full moon, Lloyd says (ch. iv. p. 50): "Their minor tones and 
monotonous voices they accompanied by playing upon greasy 
kangaroo rugs, which were rolled up in some peculiar manner, so 
that, when struck by the open hand, the sound resembjfed that of 



MUSIC. 149 

a muffled drum. Others joined in the rude concert by beating 
time with two short dried sticks, and that with a precision adapted 
for an orchestra." He adds that often "an inspiring allegretto 
movement of the thumping band had a very invigorating effect 
on the dancers. Their songs . . . were exceedingly soft and 
plaintive ; their voices not wanting in melody. They repeated the 
same note in soft and liquid syllables; descended to the second 
bar, and finished with a third above the key note. They some- 
times varied, by running suddenly into the octave. Their strains 
were considered, by a Scotchman, a close resemblance to the 
Highland bag-pipe. The stanzas they repeated again and again " 
(West, II.). Leigh found their song may be listened to with 
pleasure, their voices being sweet, and the melody expressive 
(III. p. 243). Backhouse gives an account of their singing, as 
follows, on an occasion when he once visited the huts. The 
natives were lying around a central fire: "On our entering the 
people sat up, and began to sing their native songs — sometimes 
the men, at others the women — with much animation of counte- 
nance and gesture. This they kept up to a late hour ; they are 
said often to continue their singing till midnight. To me, their 
songs were not unpleasing; persons skilled in music consider 
them harmonious" (ch. viii. p. 83). Davies simply says (p. 416) 
"their singing is far from unmusical;" that "they commence 
singing in a low monotonous tone, and rise to a higher key as 
they get excited. According to Jeffreys (pp. 124-125), " their song 
is accompanied with considerable gracefulness of action, and is 
poured forth in strains by no means inharmonious; on the con- 
trary, the voice of the singer, and in many parts the sweetness of 
the notes, which are delivered in pretty just cadence, and excellent 
time, afford a species of harmony to which the most refined ear 
might listen with pleasure." Melville (p. 348) speaks of their 
dancing "to the tune of a monotonous yet expressive song and 
chorus, in which old and young took part." Their songs, as seen 
under heading Games and Amusements, were generally sung at 
corrobories. Robinson says: "They always retired to rest at 
dusk, rising again at midnight, and passing the remainder of the 
night in singing, ... in which they all join. This is kept up 
till daylight." . . . After he became acquainted with the hostile 
tribes, he says that the most popular of their songs were those in 
which they recounted their attacks on and their fights with the 
whites (Calder, Joum. p. 18). Both Leigh and Jeffreys (as quoted 
above) state the women sang a hymn or song to a good spirit to 


secure the safety of absent husbands or friends ; but Melville, in 
opposition to Robinson (when speaking of their singing), says 
(ch. xiv. p. 348) : ** They never kept late hours, for no sooner was 
the sun down than they huddled round their fires, and went to 


** In several parts of the colony, rude drawings have been dis- 
covered. Cattle, kangaroos, and dogs, were traced in charcoal. 
These attempts were exceedingly rude, and sometimes the artist 
was wholly unintelligible. At Belvoir Vale, the natives saw the 
Company's two carts, drawn by six oxen: they drew on bark the 
wheels, and the drivers with their whips. They were the first that 
ever passed that region" (West, I. p. 89). Similarly on the first 
occasion of some carts of the Van Diemen's Land Company 
passing Mount Cleveland, Bunce says (pp. 49-50) : ** It appears 
that some natives had observed this; and, a short time after- 
wards, one of the Company's servants passing that way, found 
in one of their rudely constructed huts, a piece of the bark of 
a tree, with a rough drawing of the whole scene. The wheels 
of the carts, the bullocks drawing them, and the drivers with 
the whips over their shoulders, were all distinctly depicted 
in their rude but interesting manner." Calder (Tasmanian 
Joum. p. 419) mentions some huts, and "on the bark that 
covered them, were some extraordinary charcoal drawings; one 
representing two men spearing an animal, which, from its erect 
position, was, I presume, meant for a kangaroo ; though the artist, 
by a strange oversight, had forgotten the animal's tail, and had 
made the forelegs about twice as long as the hinder ones. There 
was also the outline of a dog, and an emu, really not badly done ; 
and some other designs, the exact meaning of which I was not 
able to make out." Elsewhere (Journ. p. 21) he states: "But the 
chef-d^ceuvre was a battle-piece — a native fight — men dying and 
flying all over it." 

In the tomb discovered by P6ron (ch. xiii. p. 273) the inner 
surfaces of some of the best and largest pieces of bark were crudely 
marked with characters similar to those which the aborigines 
tatooed on their fore-arms. 

* Some bars of music said to be Tasmanian have been published ; but on hunting 
up the original reference, we find that they are Australian, and not Tasmanian. 


Games and Amusements. 

On one occasion Backhouse reports (p. 8i): "On learning that 
plenty of provisions had arrived by the cutter, they [the natives] 
shouted for joy. After sunset they had a corrobery or dance round 
a fire, which they kept up till after midnight, in testimony of their 
pleasure." " The corrobory, or native dance, was their favourite 
pastime, and seemed to excite them considerably" (Melville, 
p. 348). Of these corrobories we have three separate detailed 
accounts, each account giving a different version of the dance. 

According to Backhouse (p. 82): " In these dances the aborigines 
represented certain events or the manners of different animals; 
they had a horse dance, an emu dance, a thunder and lightning 
dance, and many others. In their horse dance they formed a 
string, moving in a circle, in a half-stooping posture, holding by 
each other's loins, one man at the same time going along, as if 
reining in the others, and a woman as driver, striking them 
gently as they passed. Sometimes their motions were extremely 
rapid, but they carefully avoided treading one upon the other. 
In the emu dance they placed one hand behind them, and 
alternately put the other one to the ground and raised it above 
their heads, as they passed slowly round the fire, imitating the 
motion of the head of the emu when feeding. In the thunder and 
lightning dance they moved their feet rapidly, bringing them to 
the ground with great force, so as to produce a loud noise, and 
made such a dust as rendered it necessary for spectators to keep 
to windward of the group. Each dance was ended with a loud 
shout, like a last effort of an exhausted breath. The exertion 
used made them very warm, and occasionally one or other of 
them would plunge into the adjacent lagoon. One of their 
chiefs stood by to direct them, and now and then turned to the 
bystanders and said, *Uarra coopa corrobery' — very good dance, — 
evidently courting applause." 

Davies's account (p. 416) runs thus: "Their principal amuse- 
ment consists in their corrobories or dances. These are some- 
times held in the day-time, but far more generally at night ; 
they light a large fire, round which, quite naked, they dance, 
run, and jump, keeping time to their own singing, which is 
far from unmusical. These songs are various, each having its 
own peculiar dance, intended to illustrate some action or effect 
from causes. One is called the kangaroo dance, and is, along 
with some others, most violent ; in this the party (I have 


seen as many as ninety joined in one corroborie) commence 
walking round the fire slowly, singing in a low monotonous tone. 
After this has continued for some time, they begin to get excited, 
singing in a higher key, walking faster, striking their hands upon 
the ground, and springing high in the air. By degrees their walk 
becomes a run, then solitary leaps, a series ; their singing, perfect 
shrieking ; they close upon the fire, the women piling fresh 
branches upon it. Still leaping in a circle, and striking the ground 
with their hands at every bound, they will spring a clear five feet 
high, so near to the fire, so completely in the flames, that you 
fancy they must be burnt. Excited to frenzy, they sing, shriek, 
and jump, until their frames can stand it no longer, and they give 
up in the uttermost state of exhaustion. Some of their dances are 
evidently lascivious; some are medicine, etc.; though had I not 
been told by themselves that intended to represent making bread, 
taking such was the case, I never should have perceived any 

The following is Lloyd's account (pp. 49-50) : ** The assem- 
bling of the tribes [at full moon] was always celebrated by 
a grand corroboree, a species of bestial bal masqui. On such 
occasions they presented a most grotesque and demon-like ap- 
pearance; their heads, faces, and bodies, liberally greased, were 
besmeared alternately with clay and red ochre ; large tufts of bushy 
twigs were entwined round their ankles, wrists, and waists; and 
these completed their- toilet. They would then retire in a body 
to a short distance from the spot selected for the festive scene. 
At the extreme end of the tabooed space might be seen, squatted 
in Turkish fashion, the dark * Sultanas ' of the respective tribes. 
When the preliminaries of fire-making and slightly brushing round 
the sacred spot were completed, forth strode ... a sorry loquacious 
old beldame, taunting some noted warrior for his woman-like 
cowardice at the top of her screeching voice; in bitter terms 
challenging him to appear and answer to the charge. . . . Stung 
to the quick by her foul aspersions, he bounded in fierce rage 
through the midst of a flaming brushwood fire, proclaiming aloud 
with frantic gestures his many deeds in war and the exciting chase. 
When he paused from sheer exhaustion, the lay was taken up by 
his female admirers. They soon turned the tide against his 
wretched accuser, and in loud and solemn chant recounted and 
confirmed his heroic career. Their minor tones and monotonous 
voices they accompanied by playing upon greasy kangaroo rugs, 
which were rolled up in some peculiar manner so that, when struck 


by the open hand, the sound resembled that of a muffled dram. 
Others joined in the rade concert by beating time with two short 
dried sticks, and that with a precision adapted for an orchestra. 
Frequently, upon some inspiring allegretto movement of the 
thumping band, thirty or forty grim savages would bound suc- 
cessively through the furious flames into the sacred arena, looking 
like veritable demons, . . . and after thoroughly exhausting them- 
selves, by leaping in imitation of the kangaroo around and through 
the fire, they vanished in an instant. They were as rapidly suc- 
ceeded by their lovely ginsy who, at a given signal from the 
beldame speaker, rose en masses and ranging themselves round the 
fresh-piled flames, in a state unadorned and genuine as imported 
into this world, contorted their arms, legs, and bodies into attitudes 
that would shame first-class acrobats. The grand point with each 
. . . was to scream down her sable sister. Thus was the savage 
reunion kept up till one and two o'clock in the morning." 

Another amusement of the male aborigines was the throwing of 
waddies and spears at grass-tree stems, set up as marks, which 
they frequently hit. They still [i,e, in the settlements] strip off" 
their clothes when engaged in this amusement (Backhouse, p. 172). 




"The natives made use of a grass rope, which was passed 
round their body and the tree [for climbing]. To make such 
a rope some eight or ten men wpuld all begin in a most expert 
way to pull the long wiry grass; and when they had sufficient 
would all run together, and mix it; then half of them would 
get small crooked sticks and twist the grass, whilst the others 
let it out into small fine ropes. Then all these ropes were 
twisted together into one strong one. . . . One custom of the 
aborigines was to plait strings from the bark of a yellow-coloured 
shrub, equal to flax, both in strength and fineness, and found in 
abundance" (James Scott, Papers, etc., Roy. Soc. Tasm. July, 
1873). In describing the natives' method of catching the 
opossum, Lloyd mentions, that they used "a strong wire-grass 
rope, made into close three-strand plait" (p. 46). Backhouse 
also speaks of this rope, and says one of kangaroo skin was 
used previous to the use of European hemp" (p. 172). It will 
be remembered that the rafts described by P6ron, La Billardi^re 
(II. ch. xi. p. 80), and Backhouse (p. 58), were fixed up with 
grass cord. ** They always carried with them a small rope, made 
of kangaroo sinews" (Davis, p. 413). Some "had a slender cord 
bound several times round the head. I afterwards learned that 
most of these cords were fabricated from the bark of a shrub of 
the spurge family, very common in this country" (La Billardi^re, 
11. ch. X. p. 35). According to Laplace the skins they use are 
sewn together with threads of bark (III. ch. xviii. p. 201); and 
according to Rossel, parts of the huts were also bound together 
by threads of bark (I. ch. iii. p. 53). 


Backhouse mentions that one day he watched "a woman 
making the oval bags of open work, used in fishing, etc., of the 
leaves of a sedgy plant, which she split with great dexterity, and 


after having divided them into strips of proper width, softened 
by drawing through the fire" (p. 103). La Billardi6re speaks of 
clumsy baskets made of a reed called /uncus acutus (I., ch. v. 
p. 211), while Rossel (I. ch. iv. p. 56) found some "baskets, 
woven with strips of the bark of trees, very straight and slender, 
and twisted nevertheless with some skill, fastened like a bag 
with a string of the same material. Another little kind of bag, 
made of a dried Alga marina and very hard, seemed designed 
to draw water with, and to serve as a cup." Regarding the 
manufacture of these bags. Backhouse (p. 102) says they either 
open an oblong piece, so as to form a flat bag, or run a string 
through holes in the margin of a circular piece so as to form a 
round one. Mortimer (p. 20) evidently refers to these bags when 
he speaks of certain " small buckets for holding of water, made 
of a tough kind of sea-weed, and skewered together at the sides." 
In the Museum at Hobart are some baskets made from the 
strap-shaped leaves of certain Cyperaceous plants common on 
the sand-hills by the sea-shore. Bunce (p. 30) says baskets were 
made of the leaves of the Anthericum semibarbata as well as of 
the Dianella. Bass gives the following curious description of a 
basket: "The single utensil that was observed lying near their 
huts was a kind of basket made of long wiry grass, that grows 
along the shores of the river. The two ends of a large bunch 
of this grass are tied to the two ends of a smaller bunch ; the 
large one is then spread out to form the basket, while the smaller 
answers the purpose of a handle- Their apparent use is to 
bring shell-fish from the mud-banks where they are to be 
collected" (Collins, pp. 168-169). 

Stone Implements. 

Since Mr. Brough Smyth has gone as thoroughly into the subject 
of stone implements as circumstances will allow, it will be well 
to lay the matter before the reader in his own words. Having 
described how, for the purposes of investigation and comparison, 
several stones used by the Tasmanian aborigines, and now in the 
Museum of the Royal Society of Tasmania, were lent to him, Mr. 
Smyth continues : " They are nearly all chert or cherty varieties of 
metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, obtained, probably, from the 
neighbourhood of granite or porphyry. Mr. Cosmo Newbery 
agrees with me in the opinion that, while some of them have been 
split by hand from larger blocks, others are fragments of rocks 


occurring naturally, and selected because they were of suitable 
form. These fragments . . . have been treated in one way only ; 
having selected that which appeared to be the best for a cutting 
edge, the native has improved it by simply striking off small flakes 
all along the edge, and from one side of the edge only. This has 
been done, however, with so much skill, in all cases, as to keep 
the line straight. It is not a serrated edge. It would appear that 
the fragment was held in the palm of one hand, with the edge 
outwards, and that with a piece of stone in the other hand, blows 
were given towards the palm and away from the edge, until flakes 
were detached in such a manner as to leave it even and sharp. 
Some specimens, however, have been detached by one blow from 
a larger rock. These exhibit a semiconchoidal fracture, and 
having a good edge, have not been subsequently altered by 
chipping. . . . Amongst Mr. R. Gunn's specimens, there are two 
scalpriform implements, very skilfully made. One, the best, of a 
triangular shape, and with a remarkably sharp cutting edge, has 
been improved by striking off flakes— in size from a sixteenth of 
an inch to a quarter of an inch — from the base of the triangle; 
and the other, a smaller stone, about three inches in length, and 
two inches in breadth, formed in the same way, is scarcely inferior. 
These were evidently struck off by hand from some larger blocks, 
and afterwards improved in the manner described. The first was 
found near Westbury, and the other near Ross. . . . The largest 
stones do not weigh more than six or seven ounces, and the 
smallest are not much heavier than the chips of black basalt used 
by the natives of Victoria for cutting and cleaning skins. . . . 
None of them were provided with a handle, and it is not probable, 
judging from the shape of them, that the native had even the 
protection of the opossum skin for his hand. . . . The greater 
number — nearly all of them — may be classed as fragments of 
metamorphosed rocks, cherts, and porcelainites. Owing to having 
been buried for a lengthened period, many are coated with a thin 
yellowish-brown or grey skin. I can state with certainty that not 
one of them has been ground, nor in any case has been attempted 
to give an edge by grinding." 

Mr. Smyth then quotes the following statement of Mr. James 
Scott, received through Mr. Ronald Gunn : — " * Memorandum on 
the Stone Implements used by the Aborigines of Tasmania, found 
at Mount Morriston, eight miles south from Ross, on the east 
bank of the Macquarie River, on Lot 78, Parish of Peel, County 
of Somerset: The space over which they were found is about 


three by five chains, or one acre and a half, in a sheltered bend 
of the river, at the head of a deep lagoon, above one mile long, 
the Saltpan Plains lying to the west, and the hills rising suddenly 
to the east. The original place where these were first obtained 
by the aborigines is between the Split Rock and the west shore 
of the Great Lake, about forty miles distant, where Mr. Pitt has 
seen the ground covered with stones, partly broken and shaped — 
'like a workshop*— by his statement to me. ... In using the 
flints, the thumb was placed on the flat suri'ace, and held by the 
other fingers resting in the palm of the hand, and the sharp 
edges used to cut the notches in the trees for climbing, cutting 
spears, and making the handles of the waddies rough, so as 
not to slip from the hand. They devoted much time to chipping 
the edges of the flints, and the small pieces broken off show 
very distinctly in good ones ; the pieces not so marked, and 
smaller, are probably the pieces left in making them into ship- 
shape at first. Whilst the flints were used to cut notches in the 
trees for the great toe to rest in, for climbing, the body was 
supported against the tree by a strong grass rope, passed round 
the tree and the body, held by one hand, whilst with the other 
they used the flint. . . . The number of stones of the same 
material (but diff'erent shades in colour) which I found at that 
spot was upwards of 218. . . . Adjoining the spot where the 
flints were found there were also some common water-worn 
stones, broken in the edges, as if used for chipping, but of no 
interest otherwise. James Scott, Surveyor.' Mr. James Rollings, 
in a letter addressed to Dr. Agnew, dated 5th May, 1873, says 
that in his youth he was constantly in the habit of seeing the 
aborigines of Tasmania, . . . and that he had many opportunities 
of seeing how they used their stone knives and tomahawks.* "The 
knives [referred to] when used for skinning kangaroos, etc., were 
held by the fore-finger and thumb, and the arm, being extended, 
was drawn rapidly towards the body. The carcase was afterwards 
cut up, and the knife was held in the same way. In cutting their 
hair, one stone was held under the hair, another stone being used 
above, and by this means the hair was cut, or rather, by repeated 
nickings, came ofl"." Mr. Smyth says of some other specimens he 
received from the Royal Society of Tasmania that "they are of 
the same character as those already described. One — a heavy 

' It will be seen here that while tomahawks are spoken of they are not 
described. Lloyd (see above, p. 115) speaks of tomahawks used in fishing fur 
sport ; these may of course have been introduced. 


thick stone, with a rough edge — was probably used for cutting 
wood. It is a fragment of a dark bluish-grey siliceous rock. 
Small flakes have been struck off to form a cutting edge. 
Another — a thinner and broader fragment, and triangular in 
shape — is formed of the same kind of rock, and the cutting 
edge is in like manner made by striking oif thin small flakes. 
The weight of each is a little less than seven ounces" (II. 
pp. 402-407). 

Some fifteen years ago Mr. Morton Allport sent some stone im- 
plements to the Anthropological Institute, London, and accompanied 
them with the following letter: "The stone implements are of 
the rudest make, but are frequently met with near old camping 
places and shell-mounds, often very far from the parent 
rocks. In one locality, on the high table-land in the centre of 
Tasmania, large numbers of these rough implements appear to 
have been manufactured, as chips of the rock, knocked off" so 
long ago as to present weatherworn surfaces, abound, and cannot 
otherwise be accounted for. Many of the old residents in the 
country assure me they have frequently seen natives using these 
stones, both for skinning animals and for cutting notches in the 
thick bark of the eucalypti, while climbing. The stones were 
invariably grasped in the hand, never fixed in any kind of 

At a meeting of the Royal Society of Tasmania, in June, 
1873, a discussion having arisen concerning the use of stone 
implements by the aborigines of Tasmania, "it appeared the 
general belief of the Fellows present was, that the stone axe 
with the handle attached was never used by our natives until 
taught by those from the neighbouring continent." At this 
meeting Mr. James Scott volunteered the following information 
received from his late brother, Mr. Thomas Scott, who had had 
many opportunities of observing the habits, etc., of the aborigines : 
" I may state that I never learnt that they used the flint imple- 
ments as tomahawks, but invariably held them in their hands with 
the thumb resting on the flat surface, and turning the stone as 
found convenient to get the cutting edges where required. He 
had seen the men sitting for an hour or so at one time, chipping 
one flint with another, so as to give them the peculiar cutting 
sharp edges. The flints were used principally for cutting and 
sharpening spears, waddies, and for making notches or rough 
edges on the end of the waddies, for the hand to grasp firmly, 
in order to prevent slipping when in the act of throwing, etc. 


They were also used for cutting notches in the bark of trees to 
enable the natives to climb. ... I have found them [flint im- 
plements] . . . always in the shape used by holding in the hand, 
never in the shape of a tomahawk. . . . Some years ago I sent 
to England a round stone chipped all round to a circle about 
seven inches diameter, and one inch and a half thick in the 
centre, to one inch thick at the edge. On this the females 
broke the bones of animals for the marrow, using another stone 
about six inches in diameter for striking." In the same journal 
(Papers, etc. Roy. Soc. of Tasm. July, 1873) it is stated the 
aborigines "merely used sharp-edged stones as knives. These 
were made sharp, not by grinding or polishing, but by striking 
off flakes by another stone till the required edge was obtained. 
As a very general, if not invariable, rule, one surface only was 
chipped in the process of sharpening. They were made from 
two different kinds of stone — the one apparently an indurated 
clay rock, the other containing a large proportion of silex." Mr. 
Robert Thirkell also adds his testimony to the fact that the 
stones were used without handles of any sort {ibid. Aug. 1873). 
They used no slings (West, II. p. 84). 

Besides the places mentioned above as localities where the 
aborigines obtained their stone implements, Mr. Jas. Scott adds 
the following in a later communication {ibid, August, 1875) : 
" First, about ten chains immediately in front and to the north- 
east of the stone hut in Stocker's Bottom, County of Somerset, 
parish of Peel. The second is about one mile more to the south- 
west, on Lot 443, on a branch of Dismal Creek, running out of 
Stocker's Bottom." 


Foumeaux found the natives without any knowledge of the 
metals (Cook's Sec. Voy. Bk. I. ch. vii.), and Cook found they 
set no value on iron or iron tools (Third Voy. Bk. I. ch. vi.). 
Subsequent writers make no mention of the use of metals by these 
people, and it seems probable they had no conception of their 




It seems most probable, owing to the entire lack of information 
on the point, that no regular system of trade or barter was in use 
among the Tasmanian tribes. During the latter part of their 
existence, however, when they had been brought into contact 
with Europeans, we have a few words showing that they bartered 
with the colonists ; thus we read in Hobb's Evidence (p. 50), that 
"the native men would sell a native woman for four or five 
carcases of seals." And again, in Brodribb's Evidence {ibid, 
p. 52), we find it stated that, "the men would oifer to give up 
their wives for bread." Backhouse (p. 170) tells us on one 
occasion when his party distributed among the aborigines some 
cotton handkerchiefs and some tobacco, they presented his friends 
with "some spears and shell necklaces in return." He also 
mentions the following incident (p. 58) : " One of them [the 
aborigines] exchanged a girl of about fourteen years of age, 
for a dog, with the people at the Pilot Station ; but the girl, 
not liking her situation, was taken back, and the dog returned." 


The Tasmanians were without roads of any kind, except simple 
beaten paths, trodden down by them in various places in the 
course of time. La Billardi6re (H. p. 23) tells us that: "On the 
borders of the sea we had observed many paths, which the natives 
had cleared; but nothipg gave us any intimation that they had 
ever come into the midst of these thick forests." In another place 
(I. p. 233) he mentions that one of the officers of the 'Recherche,* 
following a beaten path made by the savages through the wood, 
met six of them walking slowly towards the south. We further 
learn from the same writer (II. p. 25) that the aborigines did not 
shrink from using a route because of any difficulties it presented ; 
he says : " We were soon obliged to climb over steep rocks, at 
the foot of which the sea broke in a tremendous manner. This 
road, notwithstanding its difficulty, was frequented by the natives, 
for we found in it one of their spears." Cook (Sec. Voy, Bk. I. 


ch. vii.) noticed a path which led from a place the aborigines 
had just left, through the woods ; and Rossel (I. p. 83) mentions 
seeing a hut, at which several beaten paths met. 

According to Backhouse (p. 121) they adopted the following 
meftiod for finding their way through the intricacies of the forest. 
" Many of the small branches of the bushes were broken and left 
hanging ; by this means these people had marked their way 
through the untracked thicket." A somewhat similar device is 
also mentioned in the evidence of Mr. Brodribb (p. 52), who tells 
us that a man **saw some sticks placed in the bush, near the 
Green Ponds, in a track of the natives, in such a position as 
denoted, as he supposed, that they had come from the westward." 

A graphic account of the power possessed by these aborigines 
in tracing the steps both of animals and men is given us by 
Lloyd (pp. 53-54). He says: "The aborigines possessed the 
faculty of tracing the footprints of men and animals to an extra- 
ordinary degree. Frequently I have enlisted a sharp-eyed native 
in search of strayed sheep. ... By the first gleam of morn 
we had traversed miles of hills, green forests, and fields. . . . 
Suddenly, the galvanic exclamation, * Wah I wah I ' would imply 
traces of the wandering sheep — so slight as to be almost invisible 
even to my practised eye, but so obvious to my aboriginal com- 
panion that he could instantly declare the hour of the night or 
morning on which the impression had been made. Once found, 
he would follow on their track at a quick-march pace — no matter 
what description of country the animals might have travelled 
over — until, lo I to my great joy, there stood the truants, perched 
on the very summit of some rocky, sugar-loaf-shaped hill, gazing 
at us as if in perfect astonishment at having been discovered. . . . 
Such, indeed, was the skill of the natives in tracing footprints, 
that duritig the eventful days of Bushranging . . . the Govern- 
ment employed several of them as mounted police. In that 
capacity they were of infinite value." 


When at Hummock Island Flinders (Sec. iv. p. 171) was much 
puzzled to know how the Tasmanians got there, for he was certain 
the natives at Port Dalrymple had ** no canoes nor any means of 
reaching islands lying not more than two cables lengths from the 
shore," and the island in question was incapable of supporting 
permanent subsistence. Bass was similarly puzzled. He met 
with no canoes anywhere (Collins, pp. 169, 180, 188), nor did 



he see any trees so barked as to indicate canoe making, yet 
he found that the De Witt Isles, and, in fact, all the islands 
in Frederick-Henry Bay, had evidently been visited. Neither 
did Foumeaux nor Cook meet with boat or canoe or any vessel 
to go upon the water. Nevertheless the natives did contrive 
constructions which served them in their navigations. 

La Billardi^re speaks (I. ch. v. pp. 230-231) of native rafts 
"which are only fit for crossing the water when the sea is very 
tranquil; otherwise they would soon be broken asunder by the 
force of the waves." In describing one rude raft found on the 
western shore of Adventure Bay, he says (II. ch. xi. pp. 80-8 1 ) : 
" It was made of the bark of trees ; in shape nearly resembling 
that which is represented in the plate [in his book], being as broad, 
but not so long by more than a third. The pieces of bark that 
composed it were of the same structure as that of the Eucalyptus 
resintfera^ but its leaves were much thinner. These pieces had 
been held together by cords, made of the leaves of grasses, forming 
a texture of very large meshes, most of which had the form of 
a pretty regular pentagon." Rossel, who was La Billardi^re's 
companion, describes them thus (I. ch. iv. p. 93) : " On the 
shore of our little bay we found some sort of canoes (pirogues), 
seven to nine feet long, equally flat above and below. Their 
width was from three to four feet in the middle, diminishing to 
each of their two extremities, which ended in a point. They 
were made of very thick bark of trees, joined parallelly, and 
fastened together with reeds, or other fibrous grasses. They 
were, indeed, but very small rafts, to which had been given the 
form of a canoe." P6ron (ch. xii. p. 225) speaks of the canoe 
being " formed of three rows of bark roughly joined together 
and held by thongs of the same nature " (i.e. no/ of grass). The 
drawing he gives is almost identical with La Billardi^re's. Mrs. 
Meredith's description is very different. She calls the vessels 
rafts, and says of them (p. 139): "They were formed of many 
little bundles of gum-tree bark, tied with grass, first separately, 
and then bound together in the required form, thick and flat, 
without any attempt at the shape of a boat or canoe, and not 
keeping the passenger above water when used, but just serving 
to float him on the surface. In, or rather on, these, the natives 
sat and paddled about with long sticks, or drifted before the wind 
and tide ; and in calm weather frequently crossed over from the 
mainland to Maria Island ; on such occasions they provided a 
little raised platform on the raft, on which they carried some 


lighted fuel to kindle their fire when they arrived there." 
Robinson, who, according to Calder, called this raft a Machine^ 
said it was only used by the natives of the south and west 
coasts. He describes it as ''of considerable size, and some- 
thing like a whale-boat, that is, sharp stemed, but a solid 
structure, and the natives in their aquatic adventures sat on 
the top. It was generally made of the buoyant and soft velvety 
bark of the swamp tea-tree {Melaleuccy sp.), and consisted of a 
multitude of small strips bound together. . . . Common sticks, 
with points instead of blades, were all that were used to urge it 
with its living freight through the water, and yet I am assured 
that its progress was not so very slow. My informant, Alexander 
M*Kay, told me they were good weather judges, and only used 
this vessel when well assured there would be little wind and no 
danger, for an upset would have been risky to some of the men, 
who . . . were not always good swimmers" (Calder, Journ. 
pp. 22-23). 

According to Dove (I. p. 251), a species of bark or decayed 
wood, whose specific gravity appears to be similar to that of cork, 
provided them with the means of constructing canoes. The beams 
or logs were fastened together by the help of rushes or thongs of 
skin. From the accounts thus given it will be seen that either the 
construction varied very much, or that the early travellers were not 
accurate observers. 

Lastly, Jeffreys gives a totally different account from any of the 
above. He says: "Their canoes have been very inaccurately 
described, but in fact, they do not appear to have very frequent 
use for these vessels, as they but seldom visit the coast. . . . When, 
however, . . . they come to . . . the sea, a large river, or a lake, 
they make canoes from the adjoining woods. These, when formed, 
are not unlike a catamaran, and are sufficiently large to support 
from six to ten persons in crossing the largest rivers. These 
canoes are formed by the trunks of two trees about thirty feet 
long, and laid in a parallel direction, at a distance of five or six 
feet from each other, and are kept in that position by four or five 
lesser pieces of wood, fastened at each end by slips of tough bark. 
In the middle is a cross timber of considerable thickness, and the 
whole interwoven with a kind of wicker-work. This flat and 
completely open canoe, or rather float, is made to skim along 
the surface of the water, by means of paddles, with amazing 
rapidity and safety. The natives* are frequently seen on them 
near the southern mouth of the Derwent, between Isle Brun6 and 


the main, when the canoes are often found deserted, after they 
have answered the immediate purpose for which they were con- 
structed" (pp. 126-128). 

West tells us (II. pp. 76-77): "Lieutenant Gunn found and 
preserved for several months a catamaran, sufficiently tight and 
strong to drift for sixteen or twenty miles: each would convey 
from four to seven persons;" . . . and that "Mr. Taw, the pilot 
of Macquarie Harbour, saw the natives cross the river: on this 
occasion a man swam on either side of the raft, formed of the 
bark of the * swamp tree.' " The latter mode of propulsion is also 
recorded by Backhouse when speaking of the rafts (p. 58): "On 
these, three or four persons are placed, and one swims on each 
side, holding it with one hand." 


We have just seen above that in the use of their floats a 
native swims on each side, holding the float with one hand. 
Calder says (Joum. p. 23) : " Some of the men, unlike the women, 
were not always good swimmers, though most of them were 
perfect." La Billardidre "wishing to know whether these islanders 
were expert swimmers, one of our officers jumped into the water, 
and dived several times ; but it was in vain that he invited them to 
follow his example. They are very good divers, however, ... for 
it is by diving that they procure a considerable part of their food " 
(IL ch. X. pp. 51-52). Later on he was more successful, and thus 
describes a diving scene : " Hitherto we had but a faint idea of the 
pains the women take to procure the food. . . . They took each 
a basket, and were followed by their daughters, who did the same. 
Getting on the rocks that projected into the sea, they plunged 
from them to the bottom in search of shell-fish. When they had 
been down some time, we became very uneasy on their account. 
... At length, however, they appeared, and convinced us they 
were capable of remaining under water twice as long as our ablest 
divers. An instant was sufficient for them to take breath, and then 
they dived again. This they did repeatedly till their baskets were 
nearly full" (XL ch. x. p. 57). 

Backhouse speaks thus of their diving powers (p. 168): "Some 
of the women went into the water ... to take crayfish. These 
women seem quite at home in the water, and frequently immerse 
their faces to enable them to see objects at the bottom. When 
they discover the object of their search, they dive, often using 
the long stems of the kelp, to enable them to reach the bottom." 




Backhouse mentions that "two white men being in danger of 
drowning on a raft, some of the native women . . . swam to the 
raft, and begged the men to get upon their backs, and they would 
convey them to the shore ; but the poor men refused, being over- 
come with fear" (p. 147); and on another occasion that "two 
women waded and swam from Green Island to the Settlement — 
a distance of three miles" (p. 89). Mr. Meredith mentions that 
"a native woman, to avoid being captured, rushed into the sea, 
where she swam and dived for some time, before she could be 
induced to come ashore" (p. 205). Davies speaks of the women 
"being generally, if not at all times, the divers" (p. 413). With 
the exception therefore of Calder, no writer speaks of the men as 


"Their geographical knowledge of the country in which they 
lived is remarkably accurate and minute. The relative bearings 
and distances of its more prominent headlands, bays, mountains, 
lakes, and rivers, are distinctly impressed on their minds. When 
at any time a chart of Tasmania is presented to them, it seems, 
at leasts in the case of the older and more intelligent aborigines, 
only to embody the picture of its form and dimensions which 
their own fancy had enabled them to sketch" (Dove, I. p. 251). 
The following is Mr. Hugh M. Hull's list of the tribes at the 
period of the advent of Europeans : 

" I. The Eastern Coast Tribes. 

2. The Ben Lomond Tribe was a large and savage body of 

blacks on the north-east. 

3. The Oyster Bay Tribe on the south-east. 

4. The Stony Creek Tribe, in the centre of the island, roving 

about Campbell-Town, Ross, and Saltpan Plains. 

5. The Western Tribe about the Westbury and Deloraine 


6. The Circular Head Tribe on the north. 

7. The Eastern Marshes Tribe near Oatlands. 

8. The Bruni Island Tribe. 

9. The Adventure Bay Tribe." (Smyth, H. p. 385.) 

Natural Forms. 

The very primitive nature of the Tasmanians is perhaps best 
exhibited by the unartificial use they made of articles supplied 
them by Nature. They occasionally made use of caverns as 


habitations (West, II. p. 82). They used large shells (Dove, I. 
p. 250), oyster-shells (La Billardi^re, II. ch. x. p. 43), and the 
Fucus palmatus {ibid. ch. v. p. 169 ; P6ron, xii. p. 229), as drinking 
vessels. Their stone implements were of the lowest or palaeolithic 
character ; their spears were simple sticks, having the thicker end 
sharpened and hardened in the fire (Backhouse, p. 90). We have 
also seen that their habitations were chiefly only break-winds, 
made of bark, and put together in the rudest fashion. Their 
canoes did not show much more ingenuity. It may indeed be 
said they made use of what Nature provided them, with the 
minimum amount of labour compatible with adapting them to 
serve their purposes. 

Bunce mentions that from the rare beauty of the Boronta 
variabilis the natives were in the habit of naming their wives 
and daughters after it " (p. 26). 

Natural History. 

The following curious notes on the habits of some of the 
fauna of Tasmania were related to Milligan by the aborigines : 

" Wombat {Phascolomys Vombatus), — ^The aborigines of Tasmania 
state that, though this animal often crosses streams of water, it 
never does so by swimming, however deep they may be; but 
that it walks along the bottom of the water channel from the side 
at which it enters to that where it emerges. 

^* Hycena {Thylacinus cynocephalus\ — The aborigines report that 
this animal is a most powerful swimmer; that in swimming he 
carries his tail extended, moving it as the dog often does, and 
that the nose, eyes, and upper portion of the head are the only 
parts usually seen above water. 

^^ Snakes, — The aborigines inform me that snakes often climb 
lofty trees in order to plunder the nests oi parrakeets and feed 
upon their young; and that when disturbed, they drop from a 
great height, and move off apparently uninjured by the fall. They 
say that snakes often feed, and even gorge themselves, upon the 
fruit of the native currant tree (when dead ripe). The aborigines 
describe a tail-less snake whose bite is they say most deadly" 
(Papers, Roy. Soc. Van Diemen's Land, 1852, p. 310). 

"One of the aborigines of Tasmania reports having often 
discovered the nest of the Echidna seiosa, porcupine or ant-eater 
of the colony ; that on several occasions one egg had been found 
in it, and never more" (Proc. Roy. Soc. Van Diemen's Land, 
I. p. 178). 

1 67 



"I HAVE no reason (says Davies, p. 412) to suppose that infanti- 
cide existed amongst the aborigines in their former wild state; 
there is little doubt, however, but that it was common of later 
years, driven to it, as they in all probability were, by the continued 
harassing of the whites, . . . dogs became so extremely valuable 
to them, that the females have been known to desert their infants 
for the sake of suckling the puppies." Laplace's words are very 
similar (II. ch. xviii. pp. 201-202): "The women are only too 
happy if . . . the little beings, who owe to them their birth, are 
not snatched from their arms; for, in the times of dearth, to 
which, through a too dry or too wet year, these savages, who are 
completely destitute of foresight, are exposed, it frequently happens 
that the children are abandoned in the middle of the woods, 
because their father dreads hunger, or prefers to keep the dog 
which aids him in hunting down the game." Chas. Meredith 
(pp. 201-202) attributes infanticide to somewhat different causes: 
**The disappearance of all the young children among the natives 
compels us to the inference that they were destroyed, doubtless 
on account of the difficulty of conveying them about in the rapid 
flights from place to place which the blacks now practised in the 
perpetration of their murders. No white people ever found or 
killed any children that I am aware of,' and few after this time 
were seen with the tribes ; the dreadful conclusion seems therefore 
unavoidable." Leigh (p. 243), without stating that infanticide 
existed, says: "They are careful not to increase their number 
greatly. To prevent this they have been known to sell their 
female children." But Dove's words are more positive (I. p. 252) : 
" The force of the parental instinct was usually strong enough to 
render the maintenance of their offspring a care and a delight. 

* Aboriginal children were killed by the Europeans— see p. 87, and p. 170. 


Instances, however, have occurred in which the child has been 
wantonly sacrificed to the dread of famine." 

According to Calder (Joum. pp. 13-14), "The decadence [of 
the race] cannot be traced to infanticide, at any rate of children 
of their own blood, of whom the mother was passionately fond ; 
though it seems possible that the peculiar exigencies of their 
state may have sometimes produced a forced, but certainly most 
unwilling, abandonment of them. Instances of infanticide did, 
indeed, come within Robinson's knowledge ; but then the victims 
were half-castes, whom the savage woman both of Australia and 
Tasmania is known generally to have hated. In the cases in 
question, a mother suffocated two of her offspring by thrusting 
grass into their mouths till they died." 

To Robinson's testimony we must add that of West (II. pp. 
80-81): "The half-caste children were oftener destroyed. A 
woman, who had immolated an infant of mixed origin, excused 
herself by saying it was not a pretty baby ; this was, however, far 
from universal, and more commonly the act of the tribe than the 
mother. A native woman, who had an infant of this class, fell 
accidentally into the hands of her tribe : they tore the child from 
her arms, and threw it into the flames. The mother instantly 
snatched it from death, and quick as lightning dashed into the 
bush, where she concealed herself until she made her escape." * 


"In his various reports, Robinson always maintained that this 
people was nothing but a remnant of the six or eight thousand 
who were living in 1804, and his reports of their strength he had 
from the most accurate sources, viz. the natives themselves (who, 
though they had no words to express numbers higher than units, 
could repeat the names of the individuals of the tribes), and thus 
he learned their real force, which he never rated higher than seven 
hundred — that is, after 1830; and year after year his estimates 
decreased as they died out, and he then reports five hundred, and 
finally three hundred or four hundred, and when he got the last 
of them, they had sunk to about two hundred and fifty " (Calder, 
Joum. p. 13). Backhouse considered there were "probably never 
more than 700 to 1000" Tasmanians, "their habits of life being 
unfriendly to increase " (p. 79) ; while Melville estimated them in 
1803 at nearly 20,000 (p. 345). Whatever the original number 

^ Davies believed the women suckled the children for upwards of two years. 



may have been, at the end of the war only 203 were captured 
(West, II. p. 72). 

Although it is quite useless at the present day to try to estimate 
the native population at the time of the advent of the Europeans, 
Mr. Milligan's remarks in reference to this question are well 
worth listening to. He says: "When Van Diemen's Land was 
first occupied by Europeans ... its aboriginal population, spread 
in tribes, subtribes, and families, over the length and breadth 
of the island, from Cape Portland to Port Davey, and from 
Oyster Bay to Macquarie Harbour; and their aggregate number 
at that time has been variously estimated at from 1500 to 5000. 
. . . We receive with some allowances the higher estimates 
formed of the aboriginal population of this island, at or about 
the time of its discovery. Assuming that the number of tribes 
and subtribes throughout the territory was then about twenty, 
and that they each mustered of men, women, and children 
fifty to two hundred and fifty individuals, and allowing to them 
numbers proportioned to the means of subsistence within the 
limits of their respective hunting-grounds, it does not appear 
probable that the aggregate aboriginal population did materially, 
if at all, exceed 2000. For it is to be borne in mind that on the 
western side of the island . . . physical conditions most unfavour- 
able to a natural abundance of animal life prevail; while our 
traditionary knowledge of the tribes . . . along the east and 
centre is sufficiently accurate to enable us to form a close approxi- 
mation to their actual strength " (Milligan, Papers, etc. Roy. Soc. 
Tasm. III. pp. 275-276). 

From Hull's * Statistical Summary of Tasmania,' published in 
1866, we extract the following concerning the numbers of the 
aboriginal population : 





1817 ... 

7000 (estimated at) 

1833 ... 

122 {a) 

1824 ... 


1834 ... 


1825 ... 


1835 .- 

III {b) 

1826 ... 


1836 ... 


1827 ... 


1837 ...' 

" 97 

1828 ... 


1838 ... 

82 w 

1829 ... 


1839 ... 


1830 ... 


1840 ,.. 


1831 ... 


1841 ... 


1832 ... 


1842 ... 


This is the number of the known tribes [180 males, 160 females ?] 



ATumier. \ 


• •• 

48 (rf) 


38 (0 
















... •• {g) 


... 8 


... 8 


... 6 


... 6 (A) 


- 4(0 


... .] 


... nil] 

(a) [It was said at this date that the proportion of males to 
females was 6 to i (Van Diemen's Land Annual, 1834, pp. 79-80).] 

(Jb) [Strzelecki says (pp. 352-355) that in 1835 there were at 
the Settlement on Flinders Island 210 natives, and in 1842 only 
54. During the seven years interval between his visits only 14. 
children had been bom.] 

{c) [According to Dumont D*Urville 42 males and 40 females ; 
and West says of this number 14 were children.] 

{d) [10 children.] 

{e) [12 men, 23 women, and 8 children (Barnard, Papers, Roy. 
Soc. of Tasmania, I. 1849, p. 105), making a total of 43.] 

(/*) 5 males, 9 females. 

( ^ ) 4 males, 7 females. 

( ^ ) I male, 5 females. 

( ;' ) All females. 

The last representative of the race, a female, died in 1 876. 

Contact with Civilized Races. 

In Chap. IV. when treating of war, we showed how desperately 
the aborigines fought for life and independence. That they should 
have been more successful in their struggles with Europeans than 
other races better provided for such struggles, was hardly to have 
been expected. Whatever may have been the ideas entertained on 
the subject by the natives, the war between the two races was 
considered by the colonists as one of extermination. 

Brough Smyth quotes the following from Hull, whose word we 
venture to think no one will doubt. Hull says: "A friend once 
described to me a fearful scene at which he was present. A 
number of blacks, with the women and children, were congregated 
in a gully near town . . . and the men had formed themselves 
into a ring round a large fire, while the women were cooking the 
evening meal of opossums and bandicoots ; they were surprised by 


a party of soldiers, who, without giving warning, fired upon them 
as they sat, and rushing up to the scene of slaughter, found there 
wounded men and women, and a little child crawling near its 
dying mother. The soldier drove his bayonet through the body of 
the child, and pitchforked it into the flames. * It was only a child* 
he said ! It is stated also," Mr. Hull adds, " that it was a 
favourite amusement to hunt the aborigines; that a day would 
be selected, and the neighbouring settlers invited, with their 
families, to a picnic. . . . After dinner, all would be gaiety and 
merriment, whilst the gentlemen of the party would take their guns 
and dogs, and, accompanied by two or three convict servants, 
wander through the bush in search of black fellows. Sometimes 
they would return without sport ; at others they would succeed in 
killing a woman, or, if lucky, mayhap a man or two. ... As the 
white settler spread his possessions over the island — over the 
natives' favourite camping-grounds, driving away their kangaroos 
and replacing them with bullocks and sheep — the natives objected 
in their own way to the inroad. In many cases, no doubt, the 
blacks were sacrificed to momentary caprice or anger, and suffered 
much wrong. Indeed, one of the Governor's proclamations states, 
that cruelties had been perpetrated repugnant to humanity and 
disgraceful to the British people." 

Hull, in his MS. notes, states that one European had a pickle 
tub in which he put the ears of all the blacks he shot. From his 
account no mercy was shown on either side. 

Ross, quoted by Bunce (p. 57), mentions meeting a half-starved 
stockman who had got 'bushed' while running after a female 
black who had escaped the bullock-chains with which he had 
bound her. He adds: "There is little doubt, indeed, but such, 
and even worse treatment than this, by the white stock-keepers, in 
the earlier periods of the colony, was the chief and original cause 
of the hostility which the aborigines have since indiscriminately 
shown to the whites." 

Parker relates (p. 29) that a "man named Carrots killed a native 
in his attempt to carry off' his wife, and having cut off* the dead 
man's head, he obliged the woman to follow him, it suspended 
round her neck, and to use it as a plaything ! The second is that 
of Harrington, a sealer, who procured ten or fifteen native women, 
and placed them on different islands in Bass's Straits, where he left 
them to procure skins ; if, however, when he returned, they had 
not obtained enough, he punished them by tying them up to 
trees for twenty-four to thirty-six hours together, flogging them 


at intervals, and he killed them not infrequently if they proved 

But while actual warfare and settlers' brutality were direct means 
towards their extermination, there were other equally powerful 
causes at work in wiping them off the face of the earth. 

The well-known views of Strzelecki with regard to certain 
supposed facts in reproduction were controverted by Lieut. M. 
C. Friend, who has recorded two instances upsetting Strzelecki's 
arguments. In one case "a black woman named Sarah, who 
had formerly four half-caste children by a seialer with whom she 
lived, has had since her abode in Flinders Island, where she 
married a man of her own race, three black children, two of whom 
are still alive. The other, a black woman named Harriet, who 
had formerly, by a white man with whom she lived, two half-caste 
children, and has had since her marriage with a black man, a fine 
healthy black infant, who is still living " (Tasm. Journal, III. pp. 
241-242). It may not be out of place to note here Jeffreys' 
statement that the first child borne by a native woman to a white 
man in Van Diemen's Land, "was, like all the other children 
since produced by an intercourse between the natives and the 
Europeans, remarkably handsome, of a light copper colour, with 
rosy cheeks, large black eyes, the whites of which are tinged with 
blue, and long well-formed eye-lashes, with the teeth uncommonly 
white, and the limbs admirably formed" (p. 123). 

According to Calder, a rapid and remarkable declension of the 
numbers of the aborigines had been going on long before the 
remnants were gathered together on Flinders Island. "Whole 
tribes (some of which Robinson mentions by name as being in 
existence fifteen or twenty years before he went amongst them, 
and which probably never had a shot fired at them) had 
absolutely and entirely vanished. To the causes to which he 
attributes this strange wasting away ... I think infecundity, 
produced by the infidelity of the women to their husbands in 
the early times of the colony, may be safely added. . . . 
Robinson always enumerates the sexes of the individuals he took ; 
. . . and, as a general thing, found scarcely any children amongst 
them; . . . adultness was found to outweigh infancy everywhere 
in a remarkable degree. . . . Their rapid declension after the 
colony was founded is traceable, as far as our proofs allow us to 
judge, to the prevalence of epidemic disorders ; which, though not 
introduced by the Europeans, were possibly accidentally increased 
by them. Many of the tribes, particularly of the Western and 



J ti 


South-Westem coast districts, which were known to be very strong 
in numbers, long after the first colonization of the country, were 
not exposed to contact with the whites, and yet, when taken, 
they hardly ever consisted of twenty persons, and when larger 
numbers were brought in at any one time, they were always of 
more than one family" (Calder, Joum. pp. 10-15). When once 
settled on Flinders Island, their rapid mortality was attributed 
by Robinson to the injudicious system of changing their food 
and manner of life, by which catarrhal and pneumonic attacks 
were induced (Calder, Joum. p. 25). His evidence is supported 
by that of James Allen, a surgeon to the aboriginal settlement. 
He thought that ** a residence in an open and somewhat exposed 
situation, after having grown up in the recesses of the forest, is 
uncongenial to them ; and that their remaining very constantly 
on the Settlement (which they are encouraged to do, in order 
to promote more rapidly their civilization), instead of making 
frequent excursions, for a few days together, into the bush, also 
tends to deteriorate their health" (Backhouse, p. 491). 

West, with the settlement before his eyes, gives a most pathetic 
account of their decay : " Towards the last days of their savage 
life the sexes were disproportionate, although the balance was 
partly restored by associating the women who had been longer in 
captivity with the men whose wives had died ; but many of these 
women had become licentious, and by an extraordinary oversight 
the Government permitted unmarried convicts and others to have 
them in charge ; . . . the result need not be told. The infant 
children had perished by the misery and contrivance of their 
parents; thus, in 1838, of eighty-two there were only fourteen 
children, and of the remainder eight had attained the usual term 
of human life. Many who surrendered were exhausted by sickness, 
fatigue, and decrepitude. They were the worn-out relics of their 
nation, and they came in to lie down and die. The assumption of 
clothing occasioned many deaths ; they were sometimes drenched 
with rain — perspiration was repressed, and inflammatory diseases 
followed ; the licentiousness, and occasional want of the last few 
years, generated disorders, which a cold brought to a crisis. . . . 
The abundant supply of food, and which followed destitution, 
tended to the same result ; it was a different diet. The habits of 
the chase were superseded, and perhaps discouraged ; the violent 
action to which they had been accustomed ; the dancing, shouting, 
hurling the waddy and spear — climbing for the opossum — diving, 
and leaping from rock to rock — assisted the animal functions, and 


developed muscular power. To continue them required the 
occasion, as well as the permission ; but the stimulus was gone. 
. . . There were other causes. The site of the settlement was 
unhealthy: they were often destitute of good water. ... It is 
admitted that they frequently suffered this lack; but it is stated 
that they had sufficient allowed them when sick ! It is, however, 
clear that many perished by that strange disease, so often fatal to 
the soldiers and peasants of Switzerland, who die in foreign lands 
from regret of their native country. They were within sight of 
Tasmania, and as they beheld its not distant but forbidden shore, 
they were often deeply melancholy; to this point the testimony 
of Mr. Robinson is decisive, though not solitary. They suflfered 
much from mental irritation. When taken with disease, they often 
refused sustenance, and died in delirium. The wife, or husband, 
in perfect health, when bereaved, would immediately sicken, and 
rapidly pine away" (West, 11. pp. 72-74). 

According to Surgeon Barnes (Pari. Papers, quoted by West), 
" more than one-half have died, not from any positive disease, but 
from a disease physicians call home-sickness,*' Davies also thought 
change of living and food conducive to low birth- and high 
death-rate, but attributed their decline more " to their banishment 
from the main land of Van Diemen's Land, which is visible from 
Flinders Island ; and the natives have often pointed it out to 
me with expressions of the deepest sorrow depicted on their 
countenances. The same thing has occurred on board the vessel 
when passing some part of the coast with which they were 
acquainted" (p. 419). 




The vocabularies of the Tasmanian language which have come 
down to us are twelve in number. In vol. ix. of the Royal 
Geographical Society, Dr. Lhotsky published a vocabulary by a 
man named McGeary (i), who lived many years in contact with the 
aborigines, and attributed to P6ron (2), which fell into the hands 
of a lady at Sydney. The Tasmanian Journal in 1842 (vol. i.) 
published a long vocabulary by Jorgen Jorgensen (3), compiled 
from documents in the Colonial Secretary's Office at Hobart. 
This list included three other separate vocabularies, one (4) from 
a locality not indicated, a second made by the Rev. Mr. Dove (5) 
at Flinders Island, and the third, La Billardi^re's (6) vocabulary 
taken during d'Entrecasteaux*s expedition in 1792, and which the 
naturalist published in his account of that voyage. Braim's is a 
copy of Jorgen Jorgensen's. Cook (7) has given us ten words, and 
Gaimard (Dumont D*Urville, Philologie, pp. 9-10) gathered some 
words (8) at Port Dalrymple from the lips of a native Tasmanian 
woman. Mr. E. M. Curr, in his "Australian Race,** has pub- 
lished two vocabularies which hitherto had not seen the light, 
namely, one by Mr. Roberts (9), and another by the Rev. Mr. 
Norman (10). Mr. Milligan issued a small vocabulary (11) by 
Mr. Thomas Scott, an old Tasmanian squatter, made in 1826, and 
one drawn up by Mr. Milligan (12) himself, which is by far and 
away the completest vocabulary of the Tasmanian language.' 

According to Jorgensen the vocabularies "might be considerably 
increased by that of a young man named Sterling, who made the 
native language his study ; his vocabulary was taken away at the 
death of its author by a person ignorant of its value." 

* It must be remembered that, as was once pointed out by E. B. Tylor (Early 
Hist of Mankind, 3rd ed. p. 78), many words in this vocabulary appearing as 
one are, in reality, several jomed together ;' thus : 

nocnalmeena father (lit noonal-mee-na) 

father my 
neingmena mother (lit. neing-me-na) 

mother my 


In the appendix will be found : (a) Norman's vocabulary ; (6) a 
vocabulary which we have compiled of those of Braim (Jorgen 
Jorgensen's), Cook, Gaimard, La Billardi^re, McGeary, P6ron, 
Roberts, and Scott ; and (c) Milligan's vocabulary. The description 
given by Milligan as to the manner in which he obtained his 
vocabulary, and the great care he took to insure correctness, is 
best given in his own words. 

"In order that ethnologists and others interested in the 
vocabulary of aboriginal dialects [of Tasmania] may be inclined 
to put perfect confidence in their accuracy, I have to explain 
that every word before being written down was singly committed 
to a committee (as it were) of several aborigines, and made 
thoroughly intelligible to them, when the corresponding word in 
their language, having been agreed upon by them, was entered. 
... On being completed the manuscript was laid aside for two 
or three years, when it was again submitted, verbatim et seriaitm, 
to a circle of aborigines, for their remarks. A revision which led 
to the discovery and correction of numerous blunders originating 
in misapprehension, on the part of the aborigines in the first 
place, of the true meaning of words which they had been required 
to translate. But I found the fault had oftentimes been my own, 
in having failed to seize the exact and essential vocal expression, 
which on being repeated to the aborigines at any time afterwards, 
would infallibly reproduce the precise idea which it had been 
stated to imply in the first instance. 

"The circumstance of the aboriginal inhabitants of Van Diemen's 
Land being divided into many tribes and subtribes, in a state of 
perpetual antagonism and open hostility to each other, materially 
added to the number ... of the elements and agents of mutation 
ordinarily operating on the language of an unlettered people : to 
this was superadded the effect of certain superstitious customs 
everywhere prevalent, which led from time to time to the absolute 
rejection and disuse of words previously employed to express 
objects familiar and indispensable to all, thus . . . tending arbi- 
trarily to diversify the dialects of several tribes. The habit of 
gesticulation, and the use of signs to eke out the meaning of mono- 
syllabic expressions, and to give force, precision, and character to 
vocal sounds, exerted a further modifying effect, producing, as it 
did, carelessness and laxity of articulation, and in the application 
and pronunciation of words. The last-named irregularity, namely, 
the distinctly different pronunciation of a word by the same person 
on diflferent occasions, to convey the same idea, is very perplexing, 


until the radical or essential part of the word, apart from prefixes 
and suffixes, is caught hold of. The affixes, which signify nothing, 
are Az, lah^ le^ leh, leak, na, ne, nahy da, be, beah, bo, ma, me^ 
meah, pa, poo, ra, re, ta, ie, ak, ek, ik, etc.* Some early voyagers 
appear to have mistaken the terminals la, le, etc., as distinction of 
sex when applied to men, women, and the lower animals. The 
language, when spoken by the natives, was rendered embarrassing 
by the frequent alliteration of vowels and other startling abbrevi- 
ations, as well as by the apposition of the incidental increment 
indifferently before or after the radical or essential constituent of 
words. To defects in orthoepy the aborigines added short- 
comings in syntax, for they observed no settled order or arrange- 
ment of words in the construction of their sentences, but conve^d 
in a supplementary fashion by tone, manner, and gesture, those 
modifications of meaning which we express by mood, tense, 
number, etc. . . . Barbarous tribes, living in isolated positions, 
antagonistic ... to each other, would each, within its own 
sphere, yield to various influences, calculated to modify language, 
and to confirm as well as to create dissimilarity. . . . Rude, 
savage people often adopt the most arbitrary and unmeaning 
sounds through caprice or accident, to represent ideas, in place 
of words previously in use ; a source of mutation, as respects the 
various dialects spoken amongst the aborigines of Van Diemen's 
Land, fertile in proportion to the number of tribes into which 
they were divided, and the ceaseless feuds which separated them 
from one another. Hence it was that the numerous tribes of 
Tasmanian aborigines were found possessed of distinct dialects, 
each differing in many particulars from every other.* 

"It has already been implied that the aborigines had acquired 
very limited powers of abstraction or generalization. They 
possessed no words representing abstract ideas; for each variety 
of gum tree and wattle tree, etc., etc., they had a name, but they 

* As will be shown, Milligan was not quite correct here, for some of these 
suffixes had pronominal and other meanings. 

* La Billardi^re (II. ch. xi. p. 73) states, that the words they learned from one 
tribe were found useful in communicating with others, but it must be remembered 
that the people he met with were all more or less in one district. Da vies confirms 
Milligan as regards the inability of the eastward and westward tribes to under- 
stand each other when brought together at Flinders Island, and so does Dixon 
(II. p. 22). Jorgensen says (Tasm. Joum. I.), "Those who are not of the same 
tribe appear to converse in broken English.'' That the dialects are all of the 
same language does not admit of a doubt This is proved by the numerous 
similar words expressing the same object found throughout the vocabularies. A 




had no equivalent for the expression "a tree";^ neither could 
they express abstract qualities, such as hard, soft, warm, cold, 
long, short, round, etc. ; for " hard " they would say " like a 
stone ; " for " tall " they would say " long legs," etc. ; and for 
" round " ' they said " like a ball," " like the moon," and so on, 
usually suiting the action to the words, and confirming, by some 
sign, the meaning to be understood. 

" The elision and absolute rejection and disuse of words from 
time to time has been noticed as a source of change in the 
aboriginal dialects. It happened thus : The names of men and 
women were taken from natural objects and occurrences around, 
as, for instance, a kangaroo, a gum tree, snow, hail, thunder, the 
wind, the sea, the Waratah — or Blandifordia or Boronia, when in 
bloom, etc. ; but it was a settled custom in every tribe, upon the 
death of any individual, most scrupulously to abstain ever after 
from mentioning the name of the deceased, — a rule, the infrac- 
tion of which would, they considered, be followed by some dire 
calamities. . . . Such a practice must, it is clear, have contributed 
materially to reduce the number of their substantive appellations, 
and to create a necessity for new phonetic symbols to represent 
old ideas, which new vocables would in all probability differ on 
each occasion, and in every separate tribe; the only chance of 
fusion of words between tribes arising out of the capture of 
females for wives from alien and hostile people. . . ." 

good example, showing the affinity of construction of the dialects spoken, can be 
made up from Milligan's vocabulary, thus : 


Oyster Bay and 
Pitwater Tribes. 

Mount Royal and Bruni 
Island, Recherche Bay, 
and South Tasmanian 


to see 
dizzy (faint) 

moygta genna 

nubre or nubrenah 
nubre tongany 
nubre wurrine 

1 Davies, on the other hand, says : " I much doubt their ever having separate 
names for all the different kinds of birds with which they were conversant ; yula 
(a bird) appeared to answer for most.*' 

* For ** round " and for ** testes " he gives the same word matia. 


Jorgensen tells us in the introduction to his vocabulary : " It is 
difficult to imagine the rapid and ever-changing corruptions to 
which an oral language is subject in the mouths of a savage tribe ; 
and in the present case many words, borrowed from the English, 
have added to the confusion produced by the irregular and careless 
pronunciation of the aborigines. Thus picanini^ a child ; buckelow 
or bacalay bullocks; tablety corrupted from travel, to go, which 
again was contracted into tahlee^ are all from the English. Luhra 
is a word introduced by the English from the Sydney natives (who 
do not at all understand the languages of our aborigines), and it 
appears to have been substituted for lurga or hlna^ a woman." 

To Crozet (Marion, p. 29) their language appeared harsh, 
and they seemed to draw their sound from the bottom of the 
throat. On the other hand, Robinson (Calder, Joum, p. 28) 
found it "peculiarly soft; and except when excited by anger or 
surprise, was spoken in something of a singing tone, producing 
a strange but pleasing effect on the sense of the European." 
Davies considered the language soft and liquid, and Breton 
(ch. vi. p. 355) describes it as musical and soft. According to 
Meredith the vowels are sounded peculiarly full and round. 

a as in cat, rap. 

fl as in potato (also written i by Milligan). 
^ as in the. 
^ as in thee, see, me. 
/ when before a vowel, as in shine, riot. 
I as in sigh, fie (« is pronounced as in Leipsic). 
^ as in holy, glibly. 
(7 as in flow, go. 
(K? as in moon, soon. 

u as the French use, usage, fumier, usurier, but never like the u 
in flute. 

» as in musk, bump, lump. 

Semi' Vowels. 
^ as in yonder, yellow. 

aa as oze; in lawn. 
oi as in toil, 
(w as in noun. 




h, c \} k"], g, h (only at the end of words), k, /, m, «, /, q {qu) 
[? >&], r, / [z*;], ch and gh (pronounced as in German hochachten). 
There appears to be no </, f^ v, j, or z, 

Milligan uses a ^ in the words gdulla acid, and mannaladdy 
cough, also in Icwide scab, and in iendyagh (or teniyd) red, and 
rhomdunna (or romiend) star ; it is of course conceivable that the 
Tasmanians used occasionally the soft equivalent for / so common 
among them. But as they had no hisses or buzzes, it is not 
probable that they had a M, which Milligan places in the words 
elapthatea beauty, fine, ree-mutha fist, pothyack no, and riaputhag" 
gana tame. The absence of the th is confirmed by Milligan* s 
spelling of the words ree-muita, hand, and poyenna pottafyack, vanish, 
where the / takes the place of the th. Norman has th in several 
words. McGeary is the only writer who systematically uses a v, 
but he uses this letter where others use diUoxWy thus : 


mutton bird 












black man 














As Milligan, who has been so careful in the compilation of his 
vocabulary, completely ignores the letter v, we are no doubt 
correct in stating the Tasmanians did not know the letter. The 
letter z is used by La Billardi^re in rLelia (hand), but this is 
evidently a misprint for ridia. Milligan has a c, which apparently 
reads like an s (and not like ^), thus : oghnamik6 (ask). This is 
probably also a misprint. 

In the Van Diemen*s Land Almanac for 1834 it is stated that 
the letter r is sounded *' with a rough, deep emphasis, particularly 
when excited by anger or otherwise.'* Braim says (IL p. 257) 
that to meet the correct pronunciation the soft h should be added 
where any words end in a. As an illustration of their inability 
to pronounce certain hard letters, Davies mentions they can- 




not say doctor and sugar, but say instead togata (or tokatcC) and 

Words largely commence with a consonant; the consonants 
conjoined at the beginning of a word are : — 

cr- (^r-), /r-, and also /r-, all very common ; hr-^ gr-, ng-^ pi-, 
and gn- very rare. 

Conjoined consonants are otherwise met with, as br, gr, kr, ng, nt 
(very common) ; rare are chi, ghr, ghty gl, kn, lb, mp, ngh, ngl, ngt, 
nkj nr, pr, rk, m, rf, and /r. 

Words largely end with a vowel, JMid the soft aspirate, unless 
they terminate in -ack, -ak, -tack, -yak, etc. (Where most of the 
vocabularies make the words end in -a, -ah, Norman makes the 
same words end in -ar, -er.y 

The adjective is placed after the noun, thus : 

pannogana malitiye^ 
earth white {i.e, clay) 

Icrwa maleelya^ 

woman adult 

The suflSx -Tia denotes the singular. 

The plural may perhaps have been expressed, as La Billardi^re 
states, by the suffix Ha, thus : 







hands (La Billardi^re). 

hand (Milligan). 

Or the plural may have been formed by reduplication, thus : 

fnubra-na eye. 

nubru-nubere eyes. 

lori-lori fingers. 

fkard^ five. 

karde-karde ten. 

It is possible the plural may have been expressed by simply 
omitting the singular termination na, but this is merely surmise. 

1 This is something like the South-Sea Islanders, most of whom say bokkis 
for box. 

* AU that relates to the vowels, etc, and their pronunciation, is based on 
Milligan; what follows, as far as "Construction," is largely based on Fr. 
Miiller's chapter on the Tasmanian language. 

' This word is translated as beautiful, white, and adult. 


Personal Pronouns. 

I mi-na {mee-na) Dative mi-fo^ 

you (thou) nt-na (jue-na) „ ni-io {nee-to), 

he, she, narrar (Nonnan). 

they, he, her, nard (Milligan and Braim). 

it niggur (Nonnan). 

we warrandur. 

The first person also takes the form mi-a in the dative case when 
conjoined to the verb, thus : 

ieeany-mia-pe, give me. 
The suffix 'io {-too, -tu^ -to) denotes the dative case, thus : 

nanga-tOy to the father. 
Unu-ioo (-lu), to the hut. 

The first personal pronoun in the possessive case is expressed 
by mi-a ; thus 

nanga - mia numhe 
father my here 

But when the first personal pronoun is conjoined to the verb, it 
takes the same form, thus: mia-tyan^ I give. There does not 
appear to be any special form for the possessive case of the second 
personal pronoun ; thus 

pugga mcna {ni-na) | ^.^ husband) 
man your J 


In his vocabulary Milligan gives no indication of an infinitive 
mood, the verbs quoted having a variety of terminations; it is 
therefore to be inferred that they underwent some modification, 
but in what manner is not clear. On the other hand, in the few 
short sentences quoted by Milligan, the verbs mostly end in -pe 
or 'bea {-beah), Fr. Miiller thinks these terminations indicate the 
imperative mood, and that these terminations may occasionally be 

^ Perhaps this can be explained by the fact that in Milligan's work the transla- 
tion of the short sentences is very loose and certainly not so carefully done as 
the vocabulary, and Fr. Miiller's supposition appears to be correct. For instance, 
Milligan translates iymna-mi-beah wte-na as : we will give you a stick ; but 
it should be : give me a stick. 


Person and number are indicated by the pronoun, which is some- 
times affixed to the verb, thus : 

noia mee-ah-ieang mee-na nu-to linah {h'-na) 

not I give I you (dative) water 

Occasionally the pronoun is placed between the root of the verb 
and its termination, thus : 

iyen-nartni-beah wee-na 

give I (nom.) stick 

And occasionally the pronoun is not conjoined at all, thus : 

lot-na tyen-na-beah mi-to 
stone give me (dative) 

As examples of the Imperative, Fr. Miiller has drawn out the 
following : 

onna-hea nanga-to 

tell father (dative) 

ticU wee pella kaeeta 

take stick beat dog 

The sentence, monna langarrapey translated by Milligan, I like to 
drink water, Fr. Miiller divides up into : 

m-onna lia-ngara-pe 

I like [?ask] water drink 

Lia is the root for water, thus : 

lie-na eieebana;^ lye-tta^ lie-nna wittye {wuttya) 

water fresh ; rollers on sea-beach ; water salt (i.e. the ocean) 

ngara is a corruption of nugara^ drink. Perhaps the verb langara 
(based on the root of lia) is the further corrupted form, although 
in common use, as Braim and McGeaiy give lugana^ La Billardi^re 
and P6ron laina^ for to drink. 

tugganna luna-mea\mia']-iah[to\ 
walk hut my (dative) 

lotia monti mee-na cotU 

tree see [eye] I yesterday 

• lowa-na olli tuhhra-na 

woman makes basket 

* Also translated as long. 

1 84 



The following examples will help to show how the words are 
constructed and prove the agglutinating character of the language. 
Perhaps the suffix -yenna has the same signification as -tuz^ it 
is very common, thus : 

Adult man (?your husband) 
Adult woman (? my wife) 

Ant eater and Porcupine 

Boy (a small child) or Son 

Opossum (ringtail) 
„ (mouse) 
Sole of foot 

Pugga-na nunyenna 

Lowall minyenna 




Melangyenna (Malangena) 







This interpretation of yenna is perhaps confirmed by the phrase 
malang pia-wah 
child two 

where there is no termination -yenna. 

We have seen above that the negative is expressed by the word 
noia. There is, however, another method of expressing a negative, 
by means of the suffix -iack^ thus : 

( leafless 



( tooth 
( toothless 


wugherinna normyack 

i to see 
( dizzy 





and so on. 

The Mount Royal tribes use timy (no) instead of iack, thus : 


timeh or timy 


lawatimy (lit. womanless) 

barren woman 

lavoa puggatimy (lit. woman manless) 




( leafless 





The sufSx 'iack^ however, does not always mean a negative, it 
very often expresses general unpleasantness, thus : 












i stomach 






miak bourrack {nurack bourack) 




mawpack {mahack) 




\stomachful(? unpleasantly) plonerboniack (Norman) 

But there are also cases where the termination -iack appears to 
have no particular signification, thus : 

another tahhouiack 

asleep tugganick (? iugna go, ick the negative) 

black mahack {mawpack) 

dine prooloogporack 

The word bourrack also appears in widely different significations ; 

to clutch 

niack bourrack 

to drown 
to cry 

tang bourrack 
neagh bourrack 
miack bourrack 


Hack bourrack 


crang boorack 
mellang bourack 

Magnitude is expressed by the suffix lang-ta, thus : 


large timber 
{ wind 



speak loudly 

heavy rain 

water deep 




kuka-na langhta 
prugga langta 
loa-magga langta 

1 86 


The Mount Royal Tribes used proie-na to express size, thus : 

wind high 


log of wood 

loud (to speak) 

fat woman 

rallinga proiena 
proina nughaba 
weea proingha 
kanne proine waggaba 
Iowa proina 

The Diminutive is expressed by the word kaeeta. 


kaeeta boena 

loatta keeta-na 

weena keeiyenna 

lowa'fia keetanna 

lowa-na kaeetanna 

kaeeta-na mallangyenna 

manenge keeta-na 

manaee keetannah 

manenya keetanna 

kaeto kekrabonah 

teggremony keetanna narra longbromak 

spaniel, dog 

twig {loatta tree) 
brushwood {y)i'nay wood) 

young (little) girl 
» » boy 


river (little) 

barren woman 

It is very evident kaeeto and keeta are the same word, and that 
they are diminutives. The Tasmanians had no dogs or geese, and 
they may have applied the word kaeeto to these animals to signify 
their smallness. 

The following illustrates the method of making a new word by 
tacking on to one word another word or a syllable. In some 
cases the first word undergoes a slight modification in the process : 

a. mien-na knee 
I tremble 
I tumble 

kill (deprive of life) 

war (skirmish, one or two killed) 
war (battle, all killed but one or two) 

{mabbele many) 

b. peooniack hot 
mie-mpeoomack fever (lit. I hot) 

c. tia-mena excrement my 
tia-crackena intestines 







mot mengan mabeli 







pain \ (evidently some bowel 
I sick ) complaint) 





testes or scrotum 




hill (little one) 


peak (a hill) 


tor (a peaked hill) 


point (of a spear) 

prugga poyeenta 

nipple (/jm7^«a//a dug; paruganavfoma.n's 




luggana marah 

step (lit. foot one) 

luggapoola mena 

instep my 


sole of foot 








footmark of black man 


footmark of white man. 

The two last-named words formed from pugga-na for (black) 
man, and ria-na for European. The name for finger is rie-nay and 
there appears to be no name for toe (Norman gives lugamer for 
toe, which is of course identical with luggana). The Tasmanian 
name for black man is pugga-na, the same as the word for five, 
and as the Europeans on first arrival all wore boots, which looks 
like one toe (or finger), it is not improbable that the aborigines 
actually called Europeans the " One- toe (people)." 

(Oyster Bay) apparition 

(Mount Royal) apparition 

widow (lit. apparition woman) 


house or hut, place 

nest (birds) 

nest (little birds) 


eagles' nest 

? eggs (corruption oipuna lino) 

g. wurrawena 

fia-wurrawa * 

wurrawa Imvanna 

kukanna wurrawhina 
h. ienna, It'ni 

Tnalunne, line 

puni line 




Una wughta rotaleehana encampment (lit. hut earth long) 

' Compare this with ria above ; the aborigines appeared to have thought at one 
time that Europeans were apparitions. 



It has been shown on pp. 121-122, that the natives constnicted 
two sorts of huts or break-winds, those which on the ramblings 
of small parties were to last for a night only, and those more 
permanent ones to last a season; hence the last-named explains 

1. nubri nubre-na 




nubre wurri-ru 


nubre rotti 


nenubra latai 





see (behold) 


sun {pugga, man) 


„ (palla, man) 



panubre roeelpotrack 


panubra tongoeieera 

sunset {tongy sink, dive, etc.) 



panubri mabbyle 


The words for sun thus seem to be made up of the words 
pugga-na and palla-wahy both meaning black man {ue. Tasmanian 
native), and nubri, eye ; panubri is evidently the corrupted form of 
palla-nubra-na. We may perhaps consider that the Tasmanians 
looked upon the sun as a man, and this may help to explain the 
meaning of the expression panubri mabbyle {mabbyii, many). 

k. kanna {ka-na) 
kukanna wurrarena 
kukanna wallamonyiack 
ka-walla (corrupted form 

of above) 

kuggana {ku-ka-na) langhta 
purra kanna 
kukana lengangpa 
luona kunna 
granna kunna 
iegryma kannunya 
kukunna poypuggeapa 
hokoleeny kongua 


to shout, yell {j>alla man) 



to shout, yell 


to talk loud {langhta much) 

to whistle 

to whisper, speak low 

to belch 

to yawn 

to wail {Jagara tear) 

to displease (make angry) 

to demur (grumble) 


femeta kunna creak (friction of limbs of tree) 

ria-cunah song (niz, European) 

kukanna wurrawtna echo {wurrawinna^ apparition) 

Prefixes are not so easily distinguishable as suffixes, but that 
they exist we have evidence in such words as ka-kanina mouth, 
ne-nubra latai fury, in which the prefix appears more like redupli- 

Of an interpolated syllable the word palahamdbbyU^ conflux, is 
a good example ; palla^ man, and mabbyU, many, being joined by 
the syllable ba. Perhaps another interpolation exists in the word 
lawa lloo-manyene pregnant, thus: Icma woman, lloo{lu) interpolated 
syllable, and manyene adult (big). 

Corrupted forms are seen in the words panubere sun ; from 
pallanubrana; palina nest, from punk Una; ka-walla shout, from 
kukanna ; wallamonyiack noise, and so on. 


Osteology of the Tasmanians. 


J. G. Garson, M.D. 

It was only very shortly before the Tasmanians became extinct, 
that the importance of preserving their osteological remains 
seems to have been recognized, and means taken to secure 
what specimens were still available. The largest collection of 
these is lodged in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons 
of England. This consists of specimens procured from various 
sources at various times by the College itself, and of the collection 
made by the late Dr. Barnard Davis, acquired by the College in 
1880. The specimens collected by the College of Surgeons con- 
sists of two complete skeletons and seventeen skulls. Of the 
former, one is the skeleton of an adult male, the other that of an 
adult female. The male skeleton was obtained from a grave on 
Flinders Island, where the remnant of the aboriginal population, 
when removed from Tasmania, was located between 1832 and 
1847. The female skeleton is that of one of the last survivors 
of the race, Betsy Clark, described in Bonwick's "Last of the 
Tasmanians," 1870, where a portrait of her, from a photograph 
taken in 1866, is given, who died at Oyster Cove on the 12th 
of February, 1867, at an age of probably forty years. The other 
specimens are the skulls of six adult males, six adult females, 
and three young specimens. Besides these there is an adult male 
skull and that of a young person reported to be Tasmanians, but 
regarding their being authentic there is great doubt. The Barnard 
Davis collection comprises a complete skeleton of an adult male, 
the skulls of eight adult males ^ and five adult females, three young 
skulls, and the cast of an adult male and female skull. The 
Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland possesses 

1 There seems to be some doubt as to two of these being skulls of Tasmanians. 


one complete skeleton of an adult male. In the Mus^e d'Histoire 
Naturelle the skulls of five males, three females, and one child are 
preserved. In the Museum of the University of Oxford there are 
seven skulls; in the Museum of Science and Art in Edinburgh 
there is one skull ; the Museum of Netley Hospital possesses two 
skulls ; the Museum of the Army Medical Department of Dublin 
has four skulls. Mr. James Bon wick possesses one skull in his 
collection of Tasmanian relics; one skull is preserved in the 
Museum of Breslau ; the Museum of Vienna also contains one 
skull. In the Museum of the Royal Society of Tasmania there 
are reported to be two skeletons and sixteen skulls ; but regarding 
the authenticity of seven of the latter, there seems to be some 

As far as I am able to ascertain, these appear to be all the 
osteological remains now extant of this interesting people. Added 
together, this list comprises six complete skeletons, and not more 
than about seventy skulls, including the young specimens. 

Several of these specimens have been described already, and 
some of their measurements recorded ; thus Dr. Barnard Davis 
in 1874 published a valuable paper on the Osteology and Peculi- 
arities of the specimens in his Collection in the " Naturerkundige 
Verhandelingen der Hollandische Maatschappij der Vetenschappen, 
1874;*' Professor Flower has described the specimens in the Royal 
College of Surgeons' Collection previous to the incorporation of 
the Barnard Davis specimens, in his lectures on Anthropology, 
published in the "British Medical Journal," Vol. I. 1879, and the 
principal measurements are recorded in his edition of the Cata- 
logue of the "Osteological Series, Part I. of the College of 
Surgeons' Museum." The Paris collection has formed the subject 
of a valuable monograph by Dr. Paul Topinard, in the " Mdmoires 
de la Soci6t6 d* Anthropologic," Vol. III. p. 307, and it has also 
been described by Quatrefages and Hamy in the " Crania Ethnica." 

The measurements given by these authors unfortunately differ 
considerably owing to the various systems of measurement which 
have been followed. The most extensive series of observations on 
the dimensions of the skulls are those given by the three French 
authors on the Paris specimens, whose tables I shall include in 
this monograph, and have taken as the basis of measurements of the 
specimens in British museums, which I have been able personally 
to measure. In measuring the long bones I have followed the 
directions laid down by Topinard and Hamy. 

Siaiure. — ^The materials at my disposal for estimating the stature 


of the skeleton is very inadequate for the purpose, consisting as it 
does of only three articulated male skeletons, and one female 
skeleton. I have been unable to ascertain the measurements of 
the two skeletons in the Museum of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 
as they do not appear to have been published. 

The male skeleton (No. 1096 in the Catalogue of the Royal 
College of Surgeons' Museum) measures 1 607 mm. in height ; 
that in the Barnard Davis Collection 1 640 mm. ; and that in the 
Anthropological Institute 1635 mm. The average stature of the 
three male skeletons therefore is 1627 mm. The female skeleton 
in the Royal College of Surgeons' Museum measures 1422 mm. 

What do these measurements of the height of the skeleton 
represent in the living subject ? A series of observations made in 
Paris on twenty-four bodies measured before and after dissection 
showed that the difference between the height of the entire subject 
and of the articulated skeleton is 34 mm.* Adding this difference to 
the measurements of the male Tasmanian skeletons, the stature of 
the three when in life would average 1661 mm., the shortest being 
1 64 1 mm., the tallest 1674 mm., and the intermediate one 1669 mm. 
In the same way the female skeleton would represent a woman 
1456 mm. in height. These calculations from the skeleton of the 
stature of the person when in life depend upon the manner of 
articulation, which differs very much, and are therefore probably 
not to be relied on so much as the estimates of height deduced 
from the lengths of the lower limbs, which will be discussed when 
treating of the measurements of the appendicular parts of the 

Let us now compare the average and individual statures of the 
skeleton with the records of observations made by travellers on the 
living. Dr. Barnard Davis states that the stature of twenty-three 
Tasmanian men measured by G. A. Robinson varied between 
1548 mm. and 1713 mm., the average being 1618 mm. P^ron, on 
the other hand, states that the usual stature of the Tasmanian 
ranges between 1678 mm. and 1732 mm. The mean of the average 
statures of Robinson and P^ron is 1661 mm., which is exactly the 
same as the average stature we have shown the three skeletons 
would probably have during life. Marion gives the measurement 
of one man as 1600 mm. Dr. Barnard Davis states that Robinson 
found the height of 29 women measured by him ranged from 
1295 mm. to 1630 mm. and averaged together 1503 mm. 

* Topinard: "Elements d'Anthropologie g^n^rale," pp. 1032-1065. 


The Skull. — ^The localities from which most of the skulls in the 
Royal College of Surgeons Collection were obtained are unknown. 
Particulars regarding the locality of skeletons have already been 
given. The cranium numbered in the Museum Catalogue iioir^ 
was marked "Tasmanian warrior kille^ at Brushy Plains;" No. 
iio6» is from Port Dalrymple; No. iroS is from a grave in Bruni 
Island; No. 11 13, the cranium of an infant, was also obtained 
from Port Dalrymple^ Three of the Barnard Davis specimens, 
Nos. 1414, 1415^, 141^ were obtained on the north-west side of the 
island, in the district of the Surrey Hills ; the localities whence the 
other specimens in his collection came from is unknown. Several 
of the skulls appear to have been obtained when the natives were 
being removed from place to place, shortly before they finally 
became extinct. The skulls in the Paris Collection were obtained 
from the voyages of the Astrolabe and the ZeUe to the South Pole 
and Oceania, during the years 1826-1829, and of the Favorite 
during 1830-1832, and from the expedition of M. Jules Verreaux 
in 1843. Five of the specimens were obtained from the south side 
of the island, three of these were procured from the neighbourhood 
of Hobart during the voyage of the Favorite by M. Eydoux ; the 
other two from Lake St. Clair, the source of the Derwent, 
were brought home by M. Dumont D*Urville in the Astrolabe and 
ZeUe expedition. Four of the specimens were obtained from the 
north side of the island in the basin of the Tamar ; two of these, 
from Launceston, were collected by Verreaux ; a third came from 
Port Dalrymple, collected by Dumont D'Urville; and a fourth, 
that of a young subject, from the district of Fumeaux, collected by 
M. Dumontier during the voyage of the Astrolabe and ZeUe, 

Some diflferences have been observed between skulls from the 
north, south, and north-west parts of the island by Quatrefage 
and Hamy in the "Crania Ethnica," and these authors have 
accordingly described separately the skulls from each district. 
While some skulls from one district are shorter than others from 
another district, the small number of specimens at their disposal 
from each district does not, in my opinion, justify such importance 
being attached to the variations observed, as to render it necessary, 
or advisable, to follow them in separating the skulls into different 
groups, according to the locality whence they were obtained, al- 
though I admit there may have been influences, such, for example, 
as contact at one part of the island with neighbouring people of 
one race, and at another part with an entirely different race, which 
may have caused slight variations in the population of particular 



parts of the island. For practical purposes therefore all the speci- 
mens may be classed together. 

Dr. Topinard describes the skulls in the Paris Collection very 
fully in his monograph referred to. He states their general con- 
figuration is suflBciently characteristic to enable a practical eye to 
distinguish them from those of other races. When viewed from 
above the vault of the cranium presents the appearance of a 
regular oval, narrow in front, widening rapidly till it attains its 
greatest breadth at the level of the parietal eminences, and then 
decreasing suddenly. The narrowest part of the frontal region is 
about 25 mm. above the root of the nose, and 8 mm. above the 
ophryon. At this place there is a transverse depression more or 
less marked, from which the frontal bone rises and curves back- 
wards without presenting any noteworthy prominence or crest : but 
2 or 3 cm. in front of the bregma, a convexity of oval form 
begins to appear; this narrows, and after passing the bregma, 
resolves itself into an antero -posterior crest, depressed in the 
middle line for the sagittal suture; it then seems to become 
double, and terminates about midway between the anterior and 
posterior fontanelles. On each side of this crest, about i cm. in 
front of the coronal suture, two grooves running from before back- 
wards appear, which become deeper as they extend backwards ; 
these terminate gradually about the middle of the parietal bones. 
Lastly, quite outside are situated the parietal bosses very much 
developed and even conical. This characteristic carinate ap- 
pearance is constant in varying degrees in all the Tasmanian skulls 
in Paris. The posterior part of the parietal region is smooth, and 
recedes gradually at first, but rapidly afterwards, towards an elliptical 
convexity, the long axis of which is transversely placed, formed by 
the supra-occipital region. The inion is feebly marked, correspond- 
ing to an average of No. i of Broca. The sides of the cranium 
present an important character. They are rounded in the region 
of the spheno-temporal suture, their upper limits being defined 
by a rather feebly developed temporal crest. 

The characters of the cranium may be summed up as follows : 
Globular in form, sub-dolichocephalic, without notable transverse 
depression as to the rise of the forehead, broadening rapidly from 
before backwards, with rounded sides and large conical parietal 
bosses. The frontal crest is absent, but a characteristic disposition 
of the vault termed keeled is present. The posterior parietal region 
is receding. 

Compared with Parisian skulls the supra-occipital portion of the 


Tasmanian cranium is 1 7 mm. shorter, and the difference between 
antero-posterior maximum and iniac diameters shows that the cere- 
bellum is not so much covered by the cerebral lobes as in the 
Parisians. The basio-iniac radius on the other hand is 19 mm. 
longer in the Tasmanians, showing that their cerebellum is 
notably larger. The anterior central lobes have nearly the same 
relative development in both Tasmanians and Parisians, the 
anterior part of the posterior central lobes is somewhat less 
developed, and the posterior part much less developed in the 
former than in the latter. The cerebellum is larger in the 
Tasmanians by a quantity approximatively equal to the diminution 
of the other parts. 

The facial portion of the skull is as characteristic as the cranium. 
The first thing which strikes one is the wild and sinister appearance 
which invests the whole physiognomy, and which may be attributed 
to the depth of the orbits and the form of the notch of the nose. 
These peculiarities are due firstly to an excessive development of 
all the facial portion of the frontal bone, and secondly to a back- 
ward recession en bloc of the superior ends of the nasal bones and 
ascending processes of the superior maxilla, the curve of the 
frontal bone being prolonged downwards to meet the nasal bones 
at their inferior and anterior extremity. 

The superciliary ridges on approaching the median line swell, 
curve inwards below, and, by their union, produce a strongly marked 
glabella which divides the supra-nasal region into two parts, namely 
a superior, occupied by an important depression which extends to 
the base of the frontal, where it marks the point of demarcation 
between the cranium and the face ; the other part is inferior and 
forms part of the notch of the root of the nose ; this notch, which 
relatively to its small height is deeper than Topinard has observed 
in any other skulls in the Paris Collection, is formed above by the 
inferior plane of the glabella directed backwards, at an angle of 
30® to 40° with the horizontal, and below by the backs of the nasal 
bones sharply curved forwards and upwards. Its real depth varies 
from 6 to 1 omm. The external orbital processes of the frontal bone 
play the same r6U with respect to the orbits as the glabella does to 
the root of the nose, that is to say, by being strongly developed in 
all but one instance, they augment the depth of the orbit and give 
an exceptional prominence to the superior orbital borders, causing 
them to project from 2 to 6 mm. beyond the inferior borders. The 
openings of the orbits are small and thin, and their transverse axes 
are only slightly inclined downwards and backwards, so that the 


two eyes are visible in the same line; their form is that of a 
parallelogram transversely elongated and generally of regular out- 
line. The orbital index is 77*8. The orbital depth from the 
posterior margin of the optic foramen to the anterior part of the 
superior orbital border is 55 m. 

A second marked character of the face is the heaping up of the 
bones in the median line producing shortening of the vertical 
diameter and an appearance as if the facial skeleton has been 
forced outwards by pressure directed from below, the effect of 
which is first visible at the union of the root of the nose and frontal 
bone, as a semi-luxation backwards of the nasal bones and of 
ascending apophyses of the maxillae. The facial length of the 
Tasmanian is considerably shorter than that of the French, 
while both are of about the same breadth. Each section 
of the median portion of the face, except the supra-nasal, con- 
tributes to this shortening in the Tasmanians. The inferior bi- 
maxillary and the bi-malar diameters are greater, while the bi-zygo- 
matic diameter is smaller than in the French skull. The malar bones 
are of small dimensions, their two surfaces are placed edgeways 
and form either a slightly obtuse angle or a right angle ; the inferior 
border is exactly horizontal and the zygomatic apophyses are 
directed horizontally backwards. 

The measurements of the mandible are diminished in every case ; 
thus the symphyses is vertically short, the bigonial width is dimin- 
ished, as well as the height of the posterior branch. The progna- 
thism of the face is moderate, and in all cases considerably less 
than in the Australians. The borders of the palatine vault diverge 
behind, that is to say, the palate is parabolic, but there is a 
tendency to inflexion of its posterior ends in some cases. The 
teeth are in a good state, and in one skull are well set ; but in 
another the incisors have been split or broken, without doubt 
during life ; the crowns of the molars are ground down. 

The most notable characters of the face may be summarized 
as follows : — short, relatively broad, and unusually developed in 
the supra and inter-orbital parts, giving to the orbits, the notch of 
the nose and the inter-superciliary space, special characters ; the 
superior maxillary shortened vertically, broadened transversely, 
and as it were thrust under the cranium, the lower jaw small in 
every proportion ; the malars small, moderately wide apart, placed 
edgeways, the anterior surface looking well forwards, and their 
external surface well outwards; prognathism moderate. Dr. 
Topinard considers the Tasmanian skull is constructed on a 










unifonn type, recognizable at first sight, and that it is the skull of 
the Melanesian surmounted with the parietal bones of the equa- 
torial Polynesian. The face, moreover, is not homogeneous. While 
in Dr. Topinard's opinion there are certain characters presented 
which would lead us to regard them as the remains of an 
autochthonous race originally pure, and very distinct from their 
neighbours, there are others which seem to favour their multiple 

The average measurements of the skulls are given at the end of 
this chapter. 

Quatrefage and Hamy distinguish as "Tasmanians of the south" 
the former inhabitants of the basin of the Derwent and Huon 
rivers. From this district three of the male and two of the female 
skulls in the Paris Collection were obtained. Their antero-posterior 
diameters are relatively a little shorter than those of the north and 
north-west of the island, their cephalic index being 77*1 ; while 
those of the north are 76*34, and of the north-west 76* 16. Upon 
this ground these authors place them in a separate group. Taking 
the skull which has been reproduced on PI. XV. and XVI. they 
proceed to call attention to the carinate form of the cranial vault, 
which they state appears to be constant in the adult Tasmanian. 

The frontal bone is more elongated (measuring over the curve 
138 mm.), also more oblique and depressed (the bregma being 
only 1 3 1 mm. above the anterior border of the occipital foramen), 
likewise a little narrower at the base (the minimum frontal 
diameter being 97 mm.), than in the Papuans of Rawak, which 
in some respects it resembles, whilst the maximum diameter 
is the same in both (118 mm.). The superciliary arches are 
large, and their size is exaggerated by the sunken appearance 
presented by the upper part of the face situated immediately 
below them. The frontal bosses are well marked, while the 
median portion is expanded as a convex surface of oval form, 
which extends beyond the bregma and is fused with a kind of 
parietal crest, the sides being separated from the eyebrows by a 
slight depression and from the median boss by a flat portion 
which is continuous with that which bounds the sagittal convexity 
of the parietals. The temporal line is feebly marked, and the 
portion of the frontal which forms part of the temporal fossa is 
moderately flat. 

The curves and planes of the frontal bone just described are 
continued on to the parietal bones as far as the level of their tubera, 
which are strongly marked, almost conical in shape, and situated 


equidistant from the coronal and lambdoidal sutures in the course 
of the temporal line. The antero-posterior median convex surface 
is prolonged as far as the middle of the sagittal suture, which 
is situated in a slightly undulating groove, and is separated 
from the tubera by two depressions very nearly symmetrical 
and fairly well marked. It is the presence of these three 
crests and two intermediate concavities which gives the carinate 
appearance resembling the keel and sides of a ship to the cranium. 
Beyond the bosses the antero-posterior curve changes suddenly ; 
the median elevation completely disappears, as well as the 
lateral depressions, and there remains only a convex plane slightly 
flattened in the centre which ceases at the lambda. From the 
tubera the parietals descend without bulging, but converge 
slightly below, especially in front towards the squamosals, which 
are greatly reduced in size. The great wings of the sphenoid are 
short, and do not articulate with the parietals. 

The central part of the occipital bone is short and narrow, 
and markedly convex from above downwards; the occipital pro- 
tuberance is feebly marked. The cerebellar part is relatively 
large, the two prominences corresponding to the cerebellar lobes 
are well marked, and the muscular attachments are strongly 
developed, as are also those of the base. 

The sutures are simple and generally somewhat more occluded 
in front than behind. The bones are dense and polished; the 
skull is heavy, although its walls are of moderate thickness. The 
impressions of the convolutions on the interior surface are 
relatively clear and deep, particularly at the base, a condition 
which Grateolet has shown to occur in lower races. 

The face is characteristic not on account of size, which is not 
exceptional, but owing to its shortness and its particularly brutal 
appearance. The malar bones are depressed at their superior 
angles. The nose is of moderate length, but very broad, and is 
deeply pressed in at the root. The nasal bones proper are concave 
in profile, somewhat flattened, very convex, and pinched together 
(especially above the ascending branches of the maxillae which 
support them), and are alternately concave and convex from above 
downwards, and from without inwards. The inferior border of 
the nasal opening is rounded and elevated in the middle line. 
The nasal spine is double. The orbital openings are horizontal 
and of elongated square form. The canine fossae are deep, and the 
anterior alveoli are visible on the surface of the dentary arch as 
large rounded swellings. 


The prognathism is moderate, and affects the whole face, not 
very marked in the subnasal region. The disposition of parts 
resembles that found in the Mintiras, a true Negrito race. The 
prominence of the lower part of the forehead is considerable, so 
that the facial angle, measured by taking the supraorbital point 
as the upper end of the facial line, attains 75^ although the upper 
jaw taken by itself shows a projection corresponding to a very 
much smaller angle. The alveolar angle is 66^, and the dentary 
angle is 59®. 

The palate is deep and elongated, and the difference between 
its breadth in front and behind is much less than usual. The 
teeth are very large, the molars and premolars are marked by 
having very distinct and sharp tubercles, the canines are prominent 
and thick (11 mm.); the incisors, especially the central ones, 
attain a quite exceptional development, being spade-like, 1 1 mm. 
broad by 13 mm. in length to the neck, and project forwards. 

The mandibular arc is ellipsoidal, the thickness of the horizontal 
branch is considerable, the external surface is somewhat rough, 
the mental fossettes are deep and well marked; the chin is of 
irregular form, arched, and of considerable height, the mental 
angle 73°, notwithstanding the alveolar projection. The projection 
is more accentuated on the internal surface where the superior 
genial tubercles are very large, and the mylo-hyoid ridge is 
strongly marked. The ascending rami are feeble, and present a 
marked contrast to the stronger horizontal branches. The surfaces 
for the insertion of the temporal muscles are feebly marked ; the 
same has been already noted in respect of the surfaces of origin on 
the cranium, indicating that these muscles were feebly developed, 
as the other muscles of mastication also appear to have been. The 
ascending branch is high, but narrow and very slender ; the coronoid 
process is short and sharp, the condyle is very slender, twisted on 
the inside and below, and is supported by a very short neck. The 
sigmoid notch is little hollowed out. The posterior angle is 
rounded, and does not present the least trace of a prominence, 
and the mandibular angle is very obtuse: 

This description, Quatrefage and Hamy state, is applicable in 
general to all the other Tasmanian skulls, though in some specimens 
the muscular ridges are more fully developed, while in others they 
are feebler. In one case the frontal bone articulates directly with 
the temporals. 

The female skulls they state do not differ from those of the males 
except in those characters which differentiate generally the skulls of 


the two sexes. The fonn of the cranium, while differing little in 
its proportions from the general type, is very appreciably softened 
down, but within relatively narrow limits. 

The specimen taken as the basis of the description of the 
Tasmanian skull by Quatrefage and Hamy, figured in PL XV. and 
XVI. of the present work, was brought home to Paris as an entire 
head preserved in spirits, and after being photographed was dis- 
sected and prepared as a dry specimen by Prof. Gervais some years 
ago. On opening the cranium, it was found that the encephalon was 
greatly altered, and indeed was reduced to an amorphous mass, 
so that its morphological characters could not be studied, but a 
cast was made of the cranial cavity and corrected very carefully 
with the brain itself while still covered with the dura mater, so that 
it might be as exact a representation of the external form of that 
organ as possible. The cast is figured in PI. XVII. It measures 
163 mm. antero-posteriorly, and its maximum width is 132 mm., 
while the transverse diameter of its anterior part is 93 mm. When 
compared with the encephalon of a Bushwoman studied by Cuvier 
and de Blanville immediately after death, it is seen to possess 
characters of an entirely different type. The length of the Bush- 
woman's encephalon measures 160 mm., its maximum breadth 
125 mm., and the breadth of the anterior part 100 mm. The brain 
of the Tasmanian is more arched, and consequently more elevated, 
than in the Bushwoman, agreeing in this respect with the form of 
the brain of Europeans. The middle meningeal vessels are less 
marked than in the Bushwoman, notwithstanding her sex. The 
antero-posterior part of the middle lobe is more voluminous, and 
appears to be proportionately more convoluted than in the Bush- 
woman ; indeed, the corresponding portion of the cerebral dura 
mater indicates a condition of parts more approaching what obtains 
in the white races. 

The characters of the skulls preserved in the Museums of this 
country agree very closely with the specimens in Paris which have 
been so well described by Quatrefage, Hamy, and Topinard. In 
some specimens the markings distinctive of the Tasmanian skull 
as set forth by those authors are less pronounced than in others, 
but the range of variation is very small. The general measure- 
ments also agree very closely, and the woodcuts, Figs. 8, 9, 10, 
from Topinard's work, give a very good average representation of the 
male skulls in the College of Surgeons Museum. There are one 
or two instances in which the degree of prognathism is considerably 
in excess of any of the Paris specimens, especially in the skull 



belonging to the skeleton of the male in the Barnard Davis 
collection. This skull being somewhat exaggerated in some of its 
characters, it has been thought desirable to give an illustration 
of it in PI. XIX., as the only other published drawing in the 
Thesaurus Craniorum is somewhat too small to convey to the mind 
an adequate idea of its characters. The original drawing, of which 
that on PI. XIX. is a reduction by photography to one-half the 
natural size, was made directly from the specimen itself by means 

Fig. 8. 

of Broca's stereograph, and is an accurate representation of the skull, 
except that the zygomatic arches are thicker than they should 
be. The prognathism of this skull exceeds that of any of the 
Australians, and the teeth are of larger size than in any skull in 
the Museum. The incisors are also very wide, and markedly of the 
shovel-shaped pattern mentioned by Quatrefage and Hamy. The 
small size of the coronoid processes of the mandible is noteworthy, 
all of it being seen some distance below the zygomatic process of 



the malar bone. The illustration also shows the mastoid processes 
to be of small size. The form of the glabellar region is more 
romided than usual in this specimen, but all the characteristic 
features of the Tasmanian are well marked. 

As regards the general characters of the cranial portion of the 
skull, the angular form, the prominent median ridge, and the 
flattened upper parietal region already described, are generally 
well marked. The parietal eminences are developed to a greater 

or less degree in all the specimens. Seen from behind the brain- 
case appears five-sided. The glabella is prominent, and overhangs 
the nasals in every case, even in the females. The mastoid inion 
and the muscular ridges are rarely much developed. The skull of 
the skeleton in the Anthropological Institute and that of an old 
woman in the College of Surgeons Collection have the median 
frontal suture unobliterated, that is to say, they are metopic. In 
no case does the squamosal bone meet the frontal at the pterion, 
though they almost meet in several specimens. The size of the 


skulls appear to be about the same as those in Paris, judging 
from the measurements of circumference, height, and the cranial 
capacity. Prof. Flower has noted those in the College of Surgeons 
Collection to be smaller, while those in the Barnard Davis 
Collection are larger than the Paris specimens; but when the 
measurements of the two former series are united, their average 

Fig. lo. 

measurements agree with those of the Paris skulls. In about 20 
per cent, the height of the cranium is greater than the maximum 
breadth, but the average breadth index is greater than the 
altitudinal index. 

The face is very short from above downwards between the nasion 
and alveolar point, and the depression of the upper part, upon 
which Dr. Topinard lays so much stress, is well marked. The 


orbits of the males are low, elongated, of quadrilateral shape, and 
their upper margins project greatly beyond their lower, as Topinard 
has noted in the Paris specimens. Between the orbits of the 
males and females there is a marked difference, contrary to what 
has been noted in the Paris specimens. In the females the orbits 
are more rounded and open, owing to the upper margins being less 
strongly developed ; consequently the orbital index is higher. The 
nasal portion of the face agrees very closely with that of the 
specimens in Paris already described. In some cases the nose is 
not so broad as in others, and a few specimens are mesorhine ; but 
the mean nasal index is 56-57, which places them in the platjrrhine 
group. Prof. Flower has noted an interesting point regarding the 
teeth in which the Tasmanians seem to differ from all other kindred 
races, namely, •* the tardy development and irregular position of 
the posterior molars. These teeth are generally of large size, but 
there appears to be too little room for them in the jaw, so that only 
in two out of eleven adult skulls in which their condition can be 
observed are all of them normally placed ; in all the others one 
or more of the wisdom teeth are either retained beneath the alveoli 
or are in oblique or irregular positions." ' In estimating the size 
of the teeth that author measures the length in a straight line of the 
crowns of the five teeth of the upper molar series in situ between 
the anterior surface of the first premolar and the posterior surface 
of the third molar, which he designates as the denial lengths As 
this absolute length is hardly sufficient for the purpose of comparing 
races, since the size of the individual and of the cranium generally 
should be taken into account, he takes as a standard length to 
indicate the general size of the cranium the distance between 
the basion and the nasion — ^the basio-nasial length — ^as the most 
convenient with which to compare the dental length and so form 
a dental index. In the Tasmanians the dental length averages in 
the males 47*5 mm., and in the females 46*5 mm., while the basio- 
nasial length is 100 mm. and 95*5 mm. respectively, which gives 
a dental index to the males of 47*5 and to the females of 48"7, 
These indices show them to have proportionately the largest teeth 
of any race known, the nearest approach to them being the dental 
index of the Andamanese and Australians: in the former the 
dental index of the males is 44'4, and of the females 46*5 ; and in 
the two sexes of the latter 44*8 and 46' i respectively. 

* Flower, On the Native Races of the Pacific Ocean, Royal Institution Lectures, 
' 1. 
Flower, Journ. Anthrop. Inst., Nov. 1S84, p. 183. 



A point of interest and perhaps of importance, from a socio- 
logical aspect, is the absence of the two upper central incisors of 
the male skeleton and of the four upper incisors of the female 
skeleton in the College of Surgeons Collection. The teeth 
have been lost during life, and the alveolar border where they 
formerly were situated is so atrophied, that there is no trace of the 
sockets remaining. This points to the fact that the teeth have 
been lost a considerable time before death. On comparing the 
male skull with the skulls of Australians, in which the upper 
central incisors are absent, owing to their having been knocked out 
of the head as part of the Initiation Ceremonies through which the 
youths are put on reaching manhood, the appearance presented is 
exactly similar. It would seem to be probable from the condition 
of this skull that such ceremonies existed also among the 
Tasmanians, though it is diflficult to account for the removal of 
the teeth of the women, as corresponding ceremonies are not 
known to have been practised among females anywhere. 

The Vertebral Column, — ^The length of the vertebral column from 
the upper surface of the atlas vertebra to the under surface of 
the last lumbar vertebra (neglecting the dorsal lumbar and sacral 
curves) averages in the three male skeletons 511 mm. ; the length 
of the female spine is 459 mm. Topinard gives the length of the 
trunk from the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebra 
to the apex of the sacrum as averaging 474 mm. in three skeletons, 
and shows that in respect to the length of the spine the Tasmanian 
diflfers from the European in being both absolutely and proportion- 
ately shorter to the total stature, and it agrees with the measure- 
ments of the spine in the Australians and Negritos. 

Prof. Cunningham of Dublin has studied with great minuteness 
the curve of the lumbar vertebrae of different races. Where the 
vertical heights of the posterior part of the bodies of the five 
lumbar vertebrae equal the total of the individual measurements 
of the anterior surface of these vertebrae, it is evident the lumbar 
portion of the spine would be straight. Cunningham has shown 
that in the Europeans the index formed by the sum of the posterior 
measurements is less than those formed by the anterior measure- 
ments, and* he expresses the difference by means of the Lumbo- 
Vertebral index. Taking the anterior measurements as the standard, 
he finds that in Europeans the Lumbo-Vertebral index is 95*8, which 
indicates that the convexity of the curve is directed forwards. In 
the Tasmanians the Lumbo-Vertebral index averages io8'5 in the 
males, and 1047 ^^ ^^ females, and in the Australians 110*1 in 


the males and 103*1 in the females ; and in the Andamanese 106*3 
in the males and 102*4 in the females, showing that in these latter 
races the vertebrse are thicker behind than in front ; and if placed 
together without the intervening discs, would give the lumbar 
region a curve in an opposite direction to what obtains in the 
European. In this character they resemble the Apes, in which 
the Lumbo- Vertebral index is always over 100. But it may be asked, 
has the moulding of the vertebral bodies any relation to the degree 
of lumbar curvature, and is a low lumbo-vertebral index associated 
with a high degree of curvature and vice versa ? Cunningham has 
shown that there is a general correspondence, and that the bodies 
of the vertebrae in the lumbar region are found in a more or less 
marked manner in accordance with the degree of the lumbar curve, 
though the difference in height between the anterior and posterior 
surfaces of the lumbar vertebrae is so slight that it has little or no 
influence in determining the curve. The differences in height 
between the anterior and posterior surfaces of the lumbar vertebrae 
he considers must be looked upon as the consequence but not the 
cause of the curve. " The cause is a hereditary one, and it has 
originated from influences operating upon the bodies of the 
vertebrae, as the lumbar curve has become in successive generations 
more and more firmly established.'' ^ In the savage state he explains 
this ape-like condition of the lumbar vertebrae is retained in 
connection with their habits of life, where flexibility of the spine 
is more necessary than stability. The European, on the other hand, 
whose manner of life for generations past has developed stability, 
as it is evident that the deeper the bodies of the vertebrae become 
in front, the more permanent, stable and fixed the curve will become, 
and the more restricted will be the power of bending forwards at 
this region. In the Tasmanians, Australians, and other low races 
the lumbar curve is entirely produced by the intervertebral discs, 
and in no way by the vertebrae. 

The Thorax. — ^The average antero-posterior diameter of the 
thorax of the males is 185 mm., and the transverse diameter 
297 mm., giving a thoracic index of 160*5, the antero-posterior 
diameter being taken as 1 00. 

The last rib is well developed, measuring on the average along 
the curve 8 cm. 

The Pelvis. — ^The only Tasmanian pelvis which has been described 
is the specimen in the Museum of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. 

^ Cunningham, Memoirs Roy. Irish Acad. No. ii. 1886. 


Dr. Barnard Davis has given a few of the measurements of the 
pelvis in this country. With the exception of those in the Museum 
of the Royal Society of Tasmania, the only specimens that remain 
of this portion of the skeleton is that of a male, just mentioned, 
in Paris, and the three male pelves and one female pelvis belonging 
to the skeletons in this country. But before describing this small 
series, I may state Dr. Verneau's conclusions regarding the specimen 
in Paris, which I had an opportunity of measuring a few years ago. 
He says the height of the pelvis is somewhat small in proportion 
to its breadth, the iliac crests are farther apart behind than in 
Melanesian pelves, the anterior curve of the crests is very con- 
siderable. The ilii are less developed than in Europeans, and are 
very little hollowed out or twisted outwards. The transverse 
diameter of the brim is greatly diminished. Owing to the broken 
state of the sacrum the dimensions of the pelvic outlet could not 
be ascertained. The sjrmphyses pubes are short, measuring only 
33 mm. The pubic arch forms an angle of 65°. The lower part 
of the pelvis is a little smaller than in Europeans. The sciatic 
spines are situated very low, and the distance which separates 
them from one another is greater than in Europeans. The 
obturator foramena and the cotyloid cavities are small, the height 
and breadth of the latter are equal. The sacrum is narrower 
throughout, and at its base is 1 6 mm. narrower than in Europeans. 

The following are the principal measurements of the pelves 
taken as I have recommended in my monograph on Pelvemetry 
(see page 208) : * 

For purposes of comparison I have placed side by side with the 
colunm of the average measurements of the Tasmanian male pelves 
the corresponding averages of 17 New Caledonian and 40 European 
male pelves, neither of which I have previously published ; the 
European pelves are chiefly English and French. The sacrum is 
largest both in length and breadth in Europeans ; its shape is 
also difierent, as shown by the sacral index, which is considerably 
higher in the Europeans, indicating that the sacrum is propor- 
tionately broader in the latter than in the Tasmanians or New 
Caledonians. In respect to the measurements of the sacrum and 
several other pelvic measurements, it is curious how closely each 
of the four Tasmanian specimens agree in many instances. I was 
not aware of this fact till I came to write out in tabular form the 
measurements made at various times and at the difi'erent institu- 

^ Journ. of Anat. and Physiol, vol. xvi. p. 106. 



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8 1 ^^ 5 t^»^»-i 00 t^vo ^00 00 I »n*l^ 

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tions in which the specimens are preserved. I was still less 
prepared to find the averages of the Tasmanian and New Caledoniaii 
male pelvis correspond so exactly as they do. Sir W. Turner * 
gives the mean sacral index of 13 Australian males as 98*5 ; in 
the Negro it is ro6, and Prof. Flower's measurements show that 
eight male Andamanese had a sacral index of 94. The Tasmanians 
in respect to their sacrum agree with the New Caledonians, and 
occupy a middle position between the Andamanese on the one 
band and the Europeans on the other, and are not far removed 
from the Australians. From the measurements between the 
antero-superior iliac spines, the maximum crest width and the 
maximum length of the innominate bone, it will be seen that 
the pelvis in the Tasmanians and New Caledonians is as a whole 
smaller than in the European. The breadth-height and height- 
breadth index averages 124*9 and 80% according as we follow 
Topinard's or Vemeau and Turner's method of estimating it. In 
this respect the proportions are very nearly the same in the 
European, New Caledonian and Tasmanian. The Brim measure- 
ments are perhaps those to which most interest attaches. The 
antero-posterior diameter of the brim is, according to my measure- 
ments, almost identical on the average in the European and 
Tasmanian males, but a notable difference occurs in the measure- 
ment of transverse breadth, the Tasmanian being considerably 
narrower than the European ; consequently there is a considerable 
difference in the Brim-index of the two races, that of the former 
being 93*1, while in Europeans it is only 78*3. In seeking for the 
affinities of the Tasmanians in this respect, we find the Brim-index 
of the Australians is 98 according to Turner, that of the Andamanese 
98*8 by Flower. The Tasmanians therefore in this respect hold 
an intermediate position between the Europeans on the one hand 
and the Australians and Andamanese on the other, and agree very 
nearly with the New Caledonians, in whom the Brim-index is 94*6. 
This is unfortunately the only Melanesian group of which there are 
sufficient pelves to give anything like valuable data. . The sub-pubic 
angle is more obtuse in the Europeans than in Tasmanians and 
New Caledonians, in whom it averages 61° and 60° respectively. 

From the measurements of the Tasmanian pelves we conclude 
that in its essential form it occupies an intermediate position 
between the European pelvis on the one hand and the Australian 
and Andamanese (the latter being taken as a type of the Negrito 
race) on the other, and agrees very closely in all its important 
measurements with the New Caledonians. 

* * Challenger* Reports, pt. xlvii. p. 47. 



Limb B9fus. — ^The only Tasmanian limb bones I have been able 
to measure are those of the skeletons. It may be stated regarding 
them generally that they are well developed and as robust as those 
of Europeans. In this respect they diflfer very materially from the 
slender bones of the Australian natives. As an example of this 

1 may say that I have confirmed Dr. Barnard Davis's observation 
that while the circumference of the most slender part in the centre 
of the shaft of the femur averages in the three Tasmanian skeletons 
84 mm., in the Australian male it is only 75 mm., which is exactly 
what the minimum circumference of the female Tasmanians 
measures, while in two Australian females it averages 70 mm. 
The other bones show a similar proportion. 

The Scapula. — ^The form of the scapula in the Tasmanians differs 
most unexpectedly from that of the other black races, the average 
scapular index (which expresses the relation of the breadth of the 
bone to the length) and the infra-spinous index (which shows 
the relation between the breadth and infra-spinous portion of the 
bone) being much lower than in Europeans, while in the black 
races it is always higher than in Europeans. The scapular index 
of the Tasmanian skeletons in the Royal College of Surgeons 
averages 60*3, and the infra-spinous index 81*4. In the skeleton in 
the Anthropological Institute these indices are still lower, reducing 
the average scapular index down to 59*0. In Europeans they 
average 65 and 89 respectively, in Australians 88*9 and 92*5, and 
in Andamanese 69*8 and 92*7. In the Apes these indices are 
considerably higher than in man, while in Bats, in which the 
scapula functions as a basis for the attachment of the muscles of 
flight, the indices are lower than in man. The peculiar character 
of the scapula in the Tasmanians then is its vertical shortness in 
proportion to its breadth. 

The Clavicle. — ^The length of the clavicle in the three males 
averages 145 mm., and in the female 130 mm. In two of the 
males the left clavicle is the longer, and in the female both are 
of equal length. 

The Humerus, — ^The average length of the male humerus is 
319 mm., and of the female 174*5 mm. The right humerus is 
slightly longer than the left in all cases except the female, in which 
the left is i mm. longer than the right. There is no instance of 
an olecranon foramen being present in any humerus. 

The Radius. — ^This bone averages in the three males 255 mm., 
and in the female 214*5 mm. The left radius is on an average 

2 nmi. shorter than the right, in one instance the bones are equal, 
but in the female the right is 5 mm. shorter than the left. 


The Ulna. — ^The average length of the ulna in the males is 
277 mm., the right being the longer bone in two instances, and in 
the third the bones are of equal length. 

TA€ Hand. — Measured from the tip of the middle finger to the 
top of the OS magnum measures in one male 171 mm., and in the 
other 180 mm. ; in the female the bones are wanting to enable it 
to be measured. 

The Femur. — ^The left femur is in each of the males the longer, 
its average length being 460*5 mm., while the right is 457 mm., 
the average of both femurs being 459 mm. In the female the right 
and left bones are equal, measuring 397 mm. 

The Tibia. — Unlike the femur the right tibia is in each case the 
longer, the average length of the right tibia being 387 mm. and 
384 mm. of the left ; thus the diminished length of the right femur 
is counterbalanced by the increased length of the right tibia and 
vice versa in the case of the left femur. The average length of the 
right and left tibias is 386 mm. In the female the average length 
of the right and left tibiae is 314 mm., the right measuring 
3 1 8 mm. 

The Foot. — ^The length of the male foot averages about 220 mm. 

Proportions of the entire Extremities. — By adding the length of 
the humerus to that of the radius and the length of the femur to 
that of the tibia, we are able to compare the lengths of the limbs 
(less their terminal segments, the hand and foot) with the stature 
and with one another. We found that the average stature of the 
three male skeletons averaged 1627 mm.; taking this as 100, we 
found that the length of the upper extremity (as represented by the 
added lengths of the humerus and radius) is as 35*4 to 100, and 
that of the lower limb (as indicated by the lengths of the femur and 
tibia together) is 51*9 ; in the female these relations are 34*3 for 
the upper limb, and 50*0 for the lower. Topinard gives the relations 
in the New Caledonians of the upper and lower limbs to the stature 
as 35'5 and 517 respectively in the males, and as 34*6 and 52*6 in 
the females. In Europeans Topinard states the relations as 35*0 and 
49*4 respectively in males, and as 34*1 and 49*5 respectively in 
females. From these results we see that while the upper extremity 
in the Tasmanians bears almost the same relations to the stature 
as it does in Europeans, the lower extremity is somewhat longer 
proportionately in the former than in the latter. 

The Intrinsic Proportions of the Limbs. — Relative to the average 
stature which is taken as 100, the proportions of the limb bones 
are as follows: in the males, the humerus 19*6, the radius 157, 
the femur 28*2, the tibia 237 ; and in the female the humerus 19*2, 


the radius 15*0, the femur 27*9, the tibia 22* i. In 8 male New 
Caledonians the proportions are: humerus 20*2, radius 15*3, femur 
27*9, tibia 23*8. In European males Topinard gives these relations 
as humerus 207, radius 14*3, femur 27*1, tibia 23*3 ; and in 
females, humerus 19*8, radius i4*3, femur 27*4, tibia 21*8. These 
results seem to show that, with the exception of the humerus, the 
limb bones are somewhat longer in proportion to the stature in 
the Tasmanians of both sexes than they are in Europeans. The 
very limited number of specimens from which the averages are 
derived in the case of the Tasmanians reduces considerably the 
value of these figures. 

Inter-membral Index, — ^The relation which the upper limb bears 
to the lower in the Tasmanians is as 68 o to 100 ; in Europeans 
the relation is 69*3, in the Andamanese 68'3. 

The Antibracheal Index, — The relation which the radius bears 
to the humerus, in the Tasmanians, is 79*9 in the males, and 78*1 in 
the females; while in Europeans it is 73 in males, and 72*4 in 
females ; in the African Negro 79*0, and in the Negress 78*3 ; 
in Andamanese 817 and 8o'6 in males and females respectively; in 
Australian males 76*6; in New Caledonian males 76*, and in 
females 75 '8. The forearm of the Tasmanian therefore agrees with 
the black races in being much longer in proportion to what it 
is in Europeans, and consequently more simian in character. It 
will be noticed that this index in the Tasmanians corresponds 
more closely with that of the Andamanese and Negros than the 
Australians and New Caledonians. 

The TibiO'femoral Index, — ^This shows the proportion which the 
distal segment of the lower limb bears to the proximal in the 
same way as the antibracheal index does those of the segments of 
the upper limb. It averages 84*1 in the male Tasmanians, and 
79*1 in the female. In Europeans this index averages 8i'i in males 
and 8o'8 in females; in New Caledonian males 83*1 and in females 
82*3 ; in African Negro 82*9, in Negress 84*4, in Andamanese 84*4, 
in males and females respectively in Australians 84. In respect 
then of the tibio-femoral index, the Tasmanian, Andamanese, and 
Australian males are practically equal. The index being higher 
than in Europeans shows that the distal segment of the limb is 
longer than the proximal. 

The HumerO'femoral Index, — In the Tasmanian males it averages 
69*5, and in the female 69*0; in Europeans 72*5 in males, in 
Andamanese males 70*3, and in females 69*2 ; in Australian males 
7 1 '4. The humerus of the Tasmanians therefore is relatively 
i^orter in proportion to the length of the femur than in Europeans^ 









Having now discussed the various points connected with the 
osteology of the Tasmanians as far as materials will permit, there 
remains to be considered the relations of the Tasmanians to other 
races. Throughout the previous pages references have been made 
to the Australians, Andamanese, New Caledonians and other races 
resembling the Tasmanians in one or more respects, in order to 
ascertain generally the relationship between their various physical 
characters, so as to be able to form some conclusions regarding the 
stock from which the Tasmanians are descended. The want of 
material from various islands in the Australasian and Pacific Archi- 
pelagos which still exists is a serious drawback to being able td 
study the Tasmanians to most advantage. 

The race to which the Tasmanians might naturally be thought 
most allied from their geographical position is the Australian, but 
many points in the physical characters of the two races are so 
totally unlike as to render this relationship problematical. Topinard 
and others have tried to show that there is a woolly-haired race in 
Australia as well as the type familiar to us with straight or wavy 
hair. Most authorities agree in regarding the Australians as a 
homogeneous race peculiar only to Australia, not showing affinities 
to any of the populations of the neighbouring islands. In some 
respects the Tasmanians resemble very closely the Negrito race, 
not only in the character of their hair, but in some of their osteo- 
logical characters. Their relationship to the Polynesians, though 
suggested, has not received much support. The Melanesian race 
has by many persons been claimed as that to which the Tasmanians 
are most nearly allied, and many of their physical characters support 
this hypothesis. Unfortunately, the material at our disposal for 
an exhaustive study of the Melanesians from the various groups 
of islands is very limited, and indeed insufficient for an adequate 
determination of the question, the best represented being the New 
Caledonians ; they are, however, probably tinged with Polynesian 
blood to some extent. From the osteological characters and those 
of the hair, ^kin, etc., it appears as if the Tasmanians were most 
allied to the Negrito and Melanesian types. In any case the 
Tasmanians have remained for a long period isolated from other 
races, as evidenced by the uniformity of their osteological characters. 
It may seem somewhat difficult to relate the Tasmanians to the two 
races just named so far separated under the present existing 



geographical distribution of land and water. The Negritos appear 
to have been much more widely spread than at present, and give 
every evidence of being a very primitive type ; so that, as Flower 
has suggested, they may be ihe primitive stock from which the 
Melanesians on the one hand and the African Negros on the other 
have been derived. Such an hypothesis of the relationship of the 
Negrito to the Melanesian would explain perhaps the similarity 
of physical characters found to exist between these races and the 
Tasmanians. Should this be the case, the Tasmanians would, like 
the Andamanese, be the remnants of a primitive stock from which 
the other Melanesians have sprung. 

In order to give a full list of the diflferent measurements of the 
skull the series of measurements made by Topinard of the Paris 
specimen has been subjoined. 

Tasmanians in Paris. 

The Head as a Whole. 

f Vertical maximum projection ......... .^ 

3 Diam. trans, max. or Bizygomatic .^ ..... 

Index of the 1st to the and ..... »^ 


Cerebral part of frontal ..... ..... 

Parietal „.„ «.^ _ ^ 
Supra-occipital «« «« 

Sub-occipital ...« ^« 

Length of foram. mag. ..». 

Basio-supra orbital radius ..... 

, Total circumference ...» ..... 

Supra auriculo-bregmal curve .». 
Circ. or diam. trans, supra-auric. 

Total circumference .«.. 

Horizontal ( Anterior curve, pre-auriculajr _ 

Circumference S.°!*1"°'^ ^^*' post-auncular _ 

\ lotal .^ .^ — «» 

Antero-post. diam. max. .««.«...«» .^ 

Diam. bi-parietal max. ..». ^... »„ .^ 
I. Cephalic index, horizontal ..... «^ 
Vertical diam. (basio-bregmal) ..... ..... 

I. Index cephalic vertical ..... «.. .^ 

Diam. trans, frontal, min. ( taken on the > 

„ „ „ supr. \ crest temp. / 

t, „ „ maximum (proper) ».„ ..... 
„ „ occip. (bi-asteric) .«...«..«« 
„ antero post-iniac 
Approx. relation of the exter. volume ..... 

Capacity «... «« «... ««. .— ««. 
Basilo-ophryal radius «... «.» 

Basilo-mental ...« .„ „ 

Max. facial angle «.„ 

Max. facial length from ophryon to chin 

Max. facial br^th, bizygomatic ««. ~ 























































I 1035- 











1 20- 




I. Index of max. L. and B.^ .^ .^ .^ 

Dist. of supr. orb. point to line of min. front, diam. 

99 99 „ to root of nose — .^ 

9» ,» ,y to sup. alveolar point — 

„ „ y, to sub-nasal point ^ 

Diam. trans, ext. bi-orbital median (bi-malar sup.) 

», bimakr (des pommettes) ..... ..... 

yy yy inferior «........«.« 

Orbital height ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

„ breadth .............. ......... 

I. Orbital index ^„ .^ .^ .^ ,^ 

Depth of orbits ...« «.«.....««. 

Overhang of sup. orb. border beyond infr. ..... 

Interorbital width ........................ 

Depth of nasal notch .^. .... ............... 

Len^ of nasal bones (median) ............... 

Nasion to sub-nasal point ............... .... 

Nasal breadth .... ............... 

Minimum height of sup. maxillae .... — .... 
Minimum sup. maxillary breadth .... .... ... 

Length of palate vault ........... 

Height of symphyses of mandible ............. 

Height of posterior branch .............. 

Bigonial width .............. ... 

Horiz. dist. from p. supra orb. to p. sub-nasal .... 

y, „ p. sub-nasal to p. alveol. sup. ... 

„ „ p. alv. sup. to incisor summit ... 

„ y, p. incis. summit to p. alv. infer. 

,t f, p. alv. inf. to sub-mental p. .... 

Prognathism alv. dent. sup. .... ... ... 

„ „ inf. ........... 

Angle, facial max. (Camper) ........... 

,y ,9 median ... ... .... 

„ „ min. ............. 

Difference of max. and min. ............ 

Different Measurements. 

Horizontal axis of Broca ... 

Height of occ. for. (ant. bord. above the axis) 
Breadth of occ foramen .... »^ .... 

Index of occ. for. Zb 100 ........... 

Basilo-iniac radius ...i ....... .... 

Basilo-lambdoidal radius ........... 

Basilo-nasial radius ........... 

Basilo-subnasial radius ' ... ... .... 

Basilo-alveolar sup. radius ........... 










































The Origin of the Taskanians. 

A GREAT deal has been written about the origin of the Tasmanians, 
but we seem still to be a long way oflf from definitely settling the 
question of the origin of this lost race. As there have been many 
writers of eminence who have interested themselves in this subject, 
it will not be out of place here to give a recapitulation of their views. 
In this recapitulation the views of early writers and explorers have 
not been included, for the reason that they are mostly guesses based 
on erroneous or quite insufficient knowledge, nor do they in any 
way help us in the inquiry. 

M. Topinard, writing in. November and December, 1869 (Mem. 
Soc. d'Anth. vol. iii. p. 322), and in summarizing his study of the 
crania of the Tasmanians, stated that the skulls of Australians and 
Tasmanians examined by him differed considerably, and he gave 
it as his opinion that these two peoples were distinct races. He 
then made comparisons with other peoples, and said (p. 323) the 
black New Caledonians are not closely allied to the Tasmanians, 
but are closely allied with the Australians, and on p. 324 that 
amongst the Australians and New Caledonians the face resembles 
the Tasmanians, whilst amongst the Polynesians of Tahiti and the 
Marquesas it is the skull which resembles that of the Tasmanians. 
He places (p. 325) the Tasmanians between the Australians, New 
Caledonians, New Hebrideans, Torres Islanders and natives of 
Papua generally on the one hand, and between the New Zealanders, 
Tahitians and Northern Polynesians on the other. His general 
summary is (p. 326), that if there are certain reasons for considering 
the Tasmanians to be the remains of an autochthonous race, 
originally pure and very distinct from those who surrounded them, 
there are equally valid reasons for considering them to be of 
multiple origin ; in the latter case they would be the fixed product 
of a cross between the black autochthonous race and of one of the 
invading groups of the great Polynesian family. Although M. 
Topinard did not publish his paper until the end of 1869, it was 

ORIGIN. il7 

really written two years previously, and he appears to have com- 
municated his views to Mr. Bonwick. In so far as I am able to 
understand Mr. Bonwick, he considers the whole of Eastern 
Australia to have been originally peopled by the late Tasmanians 
as an autochthonous race which was exterminated by the invading 
Australians, who, however, not having the means to invade New' 
Guinea, New Caledonia or Tasmania, has left us the aboriginal 
races in these islands (Joum. Ethn. Soc. vol. ii. N.S. 1870, p. i2i).> 

Prof. Huxley {ibid, pp. 1 30-1 31), while pointing out that the type 
of Australian man is quite distinct from that of the Tasmanian, 
considered it "physically impossible that the Tasmanian could 
have come from Australia, and apparently the only way of accounting 
for the presence of the Tasmanian was to assume his migration 
from New Caledonia and the neighbouring islands. It would 
appear that at one time a low Negrito type spread eastwards and 
reached Tasmania, not by means of direct and uninterrupted land 
communication between New Caledonia and Tasmania, but rather 
by means of broken land in the form of a chain of islands now 
submerged, similar to that which at present extends between New 
Caledonia and New Guinea." In a later paper, ** On the Geo- 
graphical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind" 
{ibid. p. 404), Prof. Huxley classifies the Tasmanians as one of 
the group belonging to the Negroid type and to which the name. 
Negrito is given. His words are : 

"In the Andaman Islands, in the Peninsula of Malacca, in 
the Philippines, in the islands which stretch from Wallace's line 
eastward and southward, nearly parallel with the east coast of 
Australia, to New Caledonia, and, finally, in Tasmania, men with, 
dark skins and woolly hair occur who constitute a special modifica- 
tion of the Negroid type — the Negritos. Only the Andamans have 
presented skulls approaching or exceeding an index of 80 ; all the 
other Negritos, the crania of which have been examined, are 
dolichocephalic. But the skulls of the eastern and southern 
Negritos present, as I have mentioned,* a remarkable approxima-. 
tion to the Australioid type, and diflfer notably from the ordinary 
African Negroes in the great brow ridges and in the pentagonal. 
norma occipitalis. The best known and most typical of these eastern 
Negritos are the inhabitants of Tasmania and of New Caledonia,, 
and those of the islands of Torres Straits and of New Guinea. In 

* •* No skulls are, in general, so easily recognizable as fisur examples of those of 
the Australians, though those of their nearest neighbours, the inhabitants of the 
Negrito Islands, are nequently hardly distinguishable from them." 


the outlying islands to the eastward, especially in the Feejees, 
the Negritos have certainly undergone considerable intermixture 
with the Polynesians ; and it seems probable that a similar crossing 
with Malays may have occurred in New Guinea,** Professor 
Flower, writing in 1878, and after a general comparison of the 
Tasmanians with the Australians, says : 

** The view, then, that I am most inclined to adopt of the origin 
of the Tasmanians is that they are derived from the same stock as 
the Papuans or Melanesians; that they reached Van Diemen's 
Land, by way of Australia, long anterior to the conmiencement of 
the comparatively high civilization of those portions of the race 
still inhabiting New Guinea and the adjacent islands, and also 
anterior to the advent in Australia of the existing native race, 
characterized by their straight hair and by the possession of such 
weapons as the boomerangs throwing-stick, and shield, quite 
unknown to the Tasmanians. But these speculations on the rela- 
tions, history, and migrations of the people who inhabit South- 
Eastem Asia and Australasia, require for their confirmation far 
more minute examination and comparison of their languages, 
customs, beliefs, and as I think, most important of all, their 
physical characters, than has yet been bestowed upon them.*' 

Prof. Fried. Miiller (II. p. 1882), without actually stating that 
the Tasmanians are allied to the Australians, or even showing that 
any analogy exists between these two, classifies the Tasmanians 
under the heading of Australian races. He calls the Australians 
smooth, straight-haired {straff'sUichthaarig) races.^ He ignores 
altogether that the Tasmanians were a pronounced woolly-haired 

Messrs. De Quatrefages and Hamy state (p. 238) : " From what- 
ever point we may look at it, the Tasmanian race presents such 
very special characteristics that it is quite impossible to discover 
any well-defined affinities {affiniiis iiroites) with any other existing 
human race. Placed in certain respects between the groups studied 
above [the Negritos and the Negrito-Papuans] and those to be 
studied next [the Papuans], it detaches itself completely from both, 
and the anthropologist who studies it with attention soon convinces 
himself that from among the negro races it forms quite a division 
to itself. It is, however, less remote from the races we just studied 

1 All the natives of the Queensland coast lands with whom I came into contact 
had smooth curly hair, and they — their children more especially—reminded me 
forcibly of some of the Indian coolie immigrants I had previously seen in British 
Guiana.— H.L.R. 
























ai 14 

H H 

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t> H 


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^ ^ 


S H 


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i § 














' CO 









O cd (4 '-n' j3 



[Negritos and Negrito-Papuans] than from those we are about to 
study [Papuans]." 

In a later publication M. De Quatrefages (Introduction k 
FEtude des Races Humaines, Paris, 1889, p. 343) again places 
the Tasmanians between the Negrito-Papuans and the Papuans, 
but he also enlarges considerably against his previous view by 
giving a very definite opinion as to the relationship between the 
Tasmanians and other races. He says (t'bzd, p. 364): **A11 philo- 
logists who have studied the Tasmanian language have described 
therein grammatical affinities which connect them with those of 
Australia. M. Maury unites them both in one family ; M. Jukes 
recognises still closer relationship between the languages of 
Tasmania and of New Caledonia — ^an opinion agreeing with that 
of Mr. Logan. These results throw some light on the ancient 
past of this unhappy race. They permit of an insight into the 
ancient relationships between these various groups, and seem to 
indicate the route taken by the Tasmanian race in reaching the 
island where it was to develop and to extinguish itself. Moreover, 
they justify the conjecture I am about to make regarding the 
Australians." . . . He then goes on to point out that in Australia 
there are two distinct types, which he calls Australians proper 
and Australians n^anderthaloides — a small group occupying the 
country about Adelaide, and having among other characteristics 
hair which closely resembles the woolly hair of the negro ; and he 
points out that the existence of this small group is analogous to 
similar grouping found among the Dravidians. ** This fact [of the 
existence of Australians with woolly hair] can be accounted for by 
presuming that true negroes formerly occupied the whole or a part 
of Australia ; that they were invaded by a black race with straight 
hair ; and that it is to a blood mixing that the differences in the 
hair must be attributed. It is very probable that the Tasmanians 
furnished this negritic element. Their former existence in 
Australia has nothing about it which may not be very natural, and 
their facial characteristics occasionally approximate closely enough 
to those of the Australians to allow of the probability of this 
hypothesis. An examination of the skulls of Australians with 
woolly hair from the southern tribes would probably solve the 
question. Finally, if my conjecture be well founded, we must admit 
that the crossing must have taken place at a very remote period, 
and that the woolly hair could only reappear more or less modified 
by atavistic phenomena" (pp. 368-369). 

Dr. Garson says : " From the osteological characters, and those 

ORIGIN. 22 1 

of the hair/ skin, etc., it appears as if the Tasmanians ^ere most 
allied to the Negrito and Melanesian tjrpes. In any case thet 
Tasmanians have remained for a long period isolated from other 
races, as evidenced by the uniformity of their osteological characters. 
It may seem somewhat difficult to relate the Tasmanians to the two 
races just named so far separated under the present existing 
geographical distribution of land and water. The Negritos appear 
to have been much more widely spread than at present, and give 
every evidence of being a very primitive type ; so that, as Flower 
has suggested, they may be the primitive stock from which the 
Melanesians on the one hand and the African Negros on the other 
have been derived. Such an hypothesis of the relationship of the 
Negrito to the Melanesian would explain perhaps the similarity 
of physical characters found to exist between these races and the 
Tasmanians. Should this be the case, the Tasmanians would, like 
the Andamanese, be the remnants of a primitive stock from which 
the other Melanesians have sprung." 

Regarding the hair: Barnard Davis (Joum. Anth. Inst. vol. ii, 
p. I go) speaks of the delicate ribbon-like hair of the Tasmanians 
and Andaman islanders, and on the same page he states: "The 
Tasmanian hair and that of the Mincopies [Andamans] is the 
same." The method of wearing the hair by the male Tasmanians 
resembles very much that of some, very decided Papuans, like the 
natives of Lepers Island, as shown in Tylor's Anthropology (p. 239), 
Here then might be a link between the Tasmanians and Papuans, 
but this is mere custom, and from the following comparative study 
of the hair of Tasmanians, Australians, Andamanese, and Papuans^ 
for which I am indebted to Dr. Sydney J. Hickson, it will be seen 
that in the characteristics of the hair the Tasmanian is more nearly 
allied to the Andamanese than any other race. Dr. Hickson states : 

** The hair of the Tasmanians is of a light golden-brown colour, 
curly, and very flat in transverse section. Comparing it with the 
hair of other races, I find that it is lighter in colour than the 
hair of the Andamanese, which is of a rich brown colour ; of the 
Papuans of the South Coast, which is of a dark-brown to almost 
black colour ; or of the Australians, which is quite black. 

"The curliness of the hair of the Tasmanians is less than 
that of any of the Papuans or Andamanese, but more than that 
of the Australians. Thus the average diameter of the curl of the 
Andamanese is 2 mm., of the Papuan 3 mm., of the Tasmanian 
5 mm., but in the curliest hair of the Australians the curls are 
10 mm. in diameter, and the average must be nearly 15 mm. 


''As to flatness. The hairs of the Tasmanian and Andamanese 
are much flatter than those of the Australian and Papuan. The 
hair of the Papuan is flatter than that of the Australian, but is 
remarkably round for a curly-headed race. This applies only to 
the Papuans of the South Coast. The hair of the Papuans 
investigated by Pruner Bey seems to have been much flatter. The 
hair of the Tasmanians is finer than the hair of the Papuans and 
Australians, but not so fine as the hair of the Andamanese." 

It will be noted Dr. Hickson does not say, like B. Davis, that 
the hair of the Tasmanian and Andamanese is the same, but his 
examination shows how closely similar the two hairs are. 

As to Language : Dr. Fr. Miiller (iv. p. 39) says : " The language 
of the Andamans shows no affinity either with the Papuan languages 
or the idioms of the Nicobar islanders, or with the language of any 
of the island inhabitants of the Indian Ocean. We must acknow- 
ledge it as quite a peculiar isolated idiom ; ... in construction it 
belongs to the agglutinating languages." . . According to A. J. Ellis 
(Trans. Philol. Soc. 1882-84, p. 48), "It will be observed the South 
Andaman language is very rich in vowel sounds, but is totally 
deficient in the hisses f^ th, s, shy and the corresponding buzzes 
V, dh, «, zh^ Further on he tells us (p. 51): "The word con- 
struction is twofold, that is, they have affixes and prefixes to the 
root of a grammatical nature. The general principle of word 
construction is agglutination pure and simple." 

On turning to the chapter on Tasmanian language we find 
that it is agglutinating with suffixes, and apparently also with 
prefixes, in its word construction, and wanting in those hisses 
and buzzes similarly wanting among the Andamans. As to 
any particular idiom there appears to be none distinguishable. 
From this it will be seen that the Tasmanian language is not 
only distinctly non-Papuan, but that it has Andamanese affinities. 

I am unable to give any examples of noun words in common 
use by both, but when dealing with races so widely separated by 
time and space such absence of evidence is to be expected. 

In vocabularies of races thus separated by space, and time, 
a few words will always be found which have a like meaning. 
Thus Taylor, in his New Zealand, gives a list of Maori 
words which are similar to the Greek, and E. M. Curr, in his 
Australian Race, bases a considerable portion of his theory of 
a common origin between the Australians and the African negroes 
on a few words common to both these races. Such evidence 
by itself is quite valueless. In his remarks on the etymology 

ORIGIN. 223 

of the word kava, for which Diaz proposes the analogous word 
cauim, Mr. E. B. Tylor gives a good example of the fallaciousness 
of resting on such evidence. He says : " To show how easily such 
accidental coincidences as that of kava or cauim may be found, a 
German root may be pointed out for both, looking as suitable, as 
though it were a real one, kauen, to chew " (Researches, 3rd ed, 
1878, p. 180). 

There is, however, this much to be said, as an apology for not 
finding words common to both the Tasmanian and Andamanese, 
namely, that among the Tasmanians themselves there was 
occasionally the greatest diversity among the tribes as to the 
name of any common object ; thus we find in Milligan the 
following differences : 

Oyster Bay to Pitwater. 

Mount Royal and 
S. Tasmania. 

N.W. and 



















In the use of the pronouns we have but a slender means for 
making a comparison. We just know that the Tasmanians had 
them, and that is about all, and we may perhaps hazard the follow- 
ing comparison with the Andamanese : 

Tasmanian. Andamanese. 

Pers. Pron. . Poss. Pron. 

I St pers. sing, mt-na Sing, di-a Plur. m-e/af 

2nd pers. sing, nt-na n-ia n-eiat 

3rd pers. sing, {narra) Uia l-ontat 

It is curious that the singular case sufiix among the Andamanese 
is -da, while the Tasmanians used the syllable -na for the same 

Finally, as to Community of Custom: Barnard Davis calls 
attention to the fact in his Supplement to Thesaurus, Cran. (p. 68), 
that the Andamanese carried the jawbones of deceased relatives 
hanging at their necks, the same as the Tasmanians, though slung 
differently, and warns his readers against finding relationships 
between distant races based on such slender evidence as that of 
similarity of custom. In this respect he is quite right. In his 
work on the Andamanese Mr. Man, misled (pp. 82 and 192) by 
a misstatement of Calder that the Tasmanians were unacquainted 


with the art of producing fire, and also by apparent analogous 
customs found in both races, appears to think there existed some 
relationship between the Tasmanians and the Andamanese; but 
similar customs such as smearing the hair with red ochre and 
grease, the violent dancing and vociferous singing, and hunting 
as a chief amusement, are customs too widely distributed among 
savages and barbaric peoples in general to bear any special 
significance in a comparative study. As examples in this respect, 
we find that quite distinct races in various parts of the world 
follow the custom of couvade, marriage by capture, circumcision, 
and cannibalism. The erection of stone circles is found both 
in Europe and America. The custom of trading without actually 
meeting or speaking exists among the Veddahs, also on the Niger 
(Landers' Joum. Lond. 1832, iii. 161-163), and also among the 
Kubus in Sumatra (H. O. Forbes' Wanderings, London, 1886); 
the use of different languages by the sexes was found among the 
Caribs and among the Mandingoes (F. Moore's Travels, London, 
1738, p. 40); and finally, but not least prominent, we have an 
.almost identical custom in the use of the bustle, which, only 
lately introduced among our countr3nvomen, has been in use for 
many years among the Fantee females (Hutton's Voyage, London, 
1821, p. 93)- 

To come, then, to the end of the question before us, it is, I am 
inclined to think, quite impossible to define exactly the race to 
which the Tasmanians were most closely allied. The task would 
have been no easy one were these savages still living ; but now 
that they have been killed off the face of the earth, the difficulties 
of the problem are increased. The above comparison of their 
physical and mental characteristics with those of other races which 
appear to have close similarities, tends to the conclusion that the 
Tasmanians were more closely related to the Andaman Islanders 
than to any -other race. At the same time, while there is no 
pretension at finality in the solution of the question, still I am 
inclined to think it will be difficult, until we get more knowledge 
on the subject, to come to any other conclusion. 



"The following vocabulary, which has never been in print, was for- 
warded to me by the late J. E. Calder. It was collected by the late 
Rev. James Norman, at Port Sorrell, Tasmania, at which place he 
resided for many years as minister. In what tribes the words re- 
corded were in use is not known." — (Curr, Vol. III.). 


Ant (large) 

ty&nermlnn^r, way^nenn^r 

Ascend (v) 

t&ccam&r, tang&ru&r 

Back (s) 

karmiir&r, kamdurr^n&r 

Bark, to 


Bark (s) 


Baskets (native) 

trlngh^r&r, p5akil&r, megr&r, pamellir 

Be quiet 







Bite, to 


Black beetle 

i^rrarg&r, noonghenar, wolllbb^m^r 


mjagtoneen^r, w^yat^rmeen^r, pent^r- 


Blow, to 

IScoonghen&r, loangare 


trarmenar, triannar, p^narth^nar 



Break, see Kill 



Bring, to 

worrar _ 

Bring water 

mSkgnilr, wooriin&r 


meeth^n^, pung&lannUr 

Calf (of leg) 


Caress, to 

kayerpangamer, kam^rmlnn^r 

Cat (domestic) 



Catamaran (raft) 


Child (black) 

Climb, to 










Cry, to 

Cuts in skin (ornamental) 

Cut, to 

Descend, to 
Dig, to 
Dive (v) 

Drink, to 
Dull — stupid 




tarr&marr&r, croanghlnnSS 

tdem^, tdemam^ 





taggiirpeel&r, num^nopeet&r 


w6rgood1&ck [nyiir 

luny^r, mok^r^r, teeand^rood^nlur triu- 



tatraanghYn^r, oongdrt^rpoolSr 

bl&gQrdedliir, wordtock 

parm^rSuco, garb^rSbob^rS 

mabberkennar, congurlunhiner 

martl^lcobt^n^r, nonSrmeenir 

plgggiirl^rminn^r, triagilrbughSm^ 






Exclamations of surprise 
Exclamation to draw atten- 
Evil spirit 

Expression of salutation 

Fall down 



Fire-tail (a bird) 

Fire a gun, scourge 



Fold up 




triagurbugume, plegurlamer 


all&r! nomebeu! 

neel nee I 


ty^nSr, teethinSr 

peulIngh^nUr, plegagenar 

plggurfethir, nebbSlteeth^n&r, neurikeenar 

nabberallick, nayendree 

lagapack, lagrermlnner, langamark 




tickamar, teeagumauneme 








monur, noonghiner 






n^boolyiin&r, mamar, marpooemartenar 

Give away, to 

pan^gonee, teaghener, rappeS 

Go, to 

tagumer, trarwemar 

Go back, to 




Go away 









turrurcurtar, turrocurthenar 



Grass (long) 

troonar, nungurmTnner 

Grub, found under the rootc 

) namar, nam^ann^ 

of trees 


mamar, moonar 


warterooenar, planduddenar 



Hang (execute) 

troguiligurdick, wartherpoothertick 


rajumer, nameruienner, parterermlnner 

He, she 



neucougular, neugolar, peecarkerleinarmer 






eebrSme, lop^namS 

Hungry (stomach empty) 



peungumee, nartick 


martheriddenar, leenar, peelSna, meethen- 





Jaw (under) 


Jaw (upper) 



tSrrar, woolar, ill&r, pleathenar 

Kangaroo rat 


Kangaroo sinew 


Kill or break 

crackerpucker, tamur 

Kiss, to 

melTkener, plgumer 

Knead, to 

trallerpereener, benghemar, narrynar 


namerpenner, pleanerpenner 


pilleurmolar, pickemar, mackererpillame 


warterpoolyar, nemeener 




Look, to 
Look at me 


Man (White) 

Man (Black) 


Mimosa (prickly) 

Moon see Son 





Mushroom (not eaten hy the 




Kice or palatable 


No good 









Prick, to 
Pull to (a boat) 
Put or place (v) 
Put on (v) 

plegumer, lurerener 
labberar meener 

oallecotoghener, trubramar 




pavemlnner, rapprlnner 





nayameroocamee, neberle, camee 

plennar, neerar, neeraik, meerorar 

partrollame (see Fire), leunar, loeenar 
poackerler, pamellar, warkeller 

teuminer, marthereroomenar 

pleallerg5bbemer, loorener 

leekener, troanghener 



man^wurr^, moon^ 

marrSb*wan, borar, parmere 
lee&rway, lee&ngwiUlSrarf^ 
wolimmemer, tarramderrar 

warterooramar, beemguoganar 

meetherbarbenar, moigh^nUr 

c5mecart!nguner, probrlthener 

lUmar, larrenar 

neemerteekener, loteebemeenemer, lotee- 


catorar, warbererteener 
tragardick, nomercurtlck, planewoorack 
parconiack, peemar 

pargonee, wayabbemer, lucroppener 
toanohinnee, mokenurmTnner 












Raw (relating to meat) 

pleenduddl&ck, mancar 

Roast, to 

meerorar, mamgumer 

Rub, to 


Ron, to 


Salt-water or sea 

mokenur, ti^rwerlar 

Scorbutic complaint, name 

peunerminner, leallermlnner 


penneagumer, neoonendenar 




loneroner, memunrack 

Sing, to 


Sit down 


Shake hands 

namermeiiner, parlerlerminer 

Shake, to 

peeng wartenar 


pomeway, pewterway 


neeamurrar, loantagamar, moomtenar 



Sleep, to 



noonwartenar, enlJirmYnn^r 

Soldier (a corruption) 


Song, sung by women in a 


standing posture 


pellogannor, ploo-crimlnnur 

Speak, to 



arlenar, peeamer, pleeplar 

Spit, to 

mamerminner, petherwartenar 

Stare or track 



maenkoo, maarkanner 




teewartear, lamar, peur&r, noeenar 





lurgumarmoonar, nagumer 





Sun and Moon (left undis- 

tooweenyer, larthethelar, warkellenner, 



Swim, to 


Take off, to 



trungermarteenar, kaarwerrar 

Tiger (native) 















trarwemer, kanewurrar 

Touch, to 



derenner, neandramer 





Throw, to 

perrerpenner, lugurpemeller 







Vomit, to 

neugonar, wyangumer, penagherermeener 

Waddy (club) 


Walk, to 

pooplanghenack, warkcrooner 

Wash, to 







linghenar, teeverluttenar, langumerrar 

Wipe, to 

nagunner, nabruckertamer 

Wing of bird 

podrunnar, paranerrar 



Woman, anything apper- 


taining to 




weenar, weenamame 

Wood ashes 

weentiennar, protroltiennar 

Whistle, to 

peucannor, ploogamtnner, peunoonghener 




paruxar, parwarlar 



Names op Natives giyek nr the Rev. Mjl Nobiian*8 Vocabulakt. 

Beit LoMom) Mob. 

Leemogannar, the Chief. 

WoMBK*8 Nambs. 




Men* 8 Names. 



Teeth ^rpoon^r 

























































NoTB. — Sexes of the Big Biyer Tribe not distinguiBhed. 

Bi0 BivEB Mob. 

Mont^eelyart^, the Chief. 
P5iT^rp&rcoot5nir Kreet^e. 



B =■ Braim & Jorgen-Jorgensen. 

C = Cook. 

G =» Gaimard. 

L = La Billardi^re. 

M = McGeary. 

P = P6ron. 

E = Roberts. 

S = Scott. 

♦ « Doubtful (owing to errors in transcription). 

Able or Strong 
Afar off 
All round 

Arm, Fore- 
Ashamed (to be) 


Bark of a tree 

Basket of sea- weed con- 
taining their water 

Beat (to) 

[of the woods 
Bird, a small; a native 

relipianna (B) 

renene (?) 

tamima (B) 

metaira (M) 

lure (P) [pena (S) 

regoula (G), womena (R), alree (B), nanim- 

anme (G) 

gounalia (L), abri (W) (M), guna-lia^ (P) 

vadaburena (M) 

tabrina (R) 

carby (B), katea (M), poamori (R) 

publedina (B), napanrena (Ji) 

lennira (B), padina (B), padana (M) 


toline (L) 

terri (L), tareena (R), terri (P) 

regaa (L) * 

perelede (P) 

kongine (P), coquina (R), conguin^ (L), 

kide (G) 
lane (G), kindrega (P) 
maguelena (G), lomodina (R), kayiranara 

(W) (M), miulean (B), cawarany (B) 
la6 renne (C) 

lia appears to be a plural terminatioii (P). 





Bite (to) 



Blow (to) 




Boat or ship. Bee Canoe 




Boy (a little) 



Break- wind or hut 

Break wind (to) 


Breast (of a man) 

Breast (of a woman) 



Burn oneself (to) 


By-and-bye and soon 

CaU (to) [Boat 

Canoe, see Catamaran, see 

Cape Grim 

Casuarina, fruit of 


Cat (native) [Canoe 

Catamaran, eee Boat, eee 

? Cereopris 

Charcoal, reduced to pow- 
der, with which they 
cover their bodies 






Child (Httle) 


muta-muta (P), greigena (E), mouta mouta 

(L), iola (G), darwalla (S) 
aya (K) 
iane (G) 

wadene wine (G) 
bolouina (G), balooyuna (S) 
mounga (B) 
wadeheweana (B) 
lucrapeny (B), liiUaby (B) 
lucropony (B) 
pnale (G), toodna (E) 
Inga (P) 

plerenny (B), plireni (M), leuna or luena (R) 
cuchana hudawinna (B) 
porshi (P) 

taoorela (S) towereela (B) 
tama leeberinna (B) 
tanina (L)* 
wagley (B), voyeni (M), lere (P), pouketa- 

lagna (G), potelakna (G) 
ladine (L) 
here (L) 

pleragenama (B), pleaganana (M) 
benkelow (B) 
laguana (P) 

nun^ (L)*, wabrede (G) 
pairanapry (B) 

toni (P), tadkagna (G) 
lukrapani (M), nenga (P) 
pellree (B), pilni (M) 
lubada (P) 

largana (B), neperana (B) 
lila (E) (M) 
nungana (E) 
ronenan (G) 

loira (L), loira (P) 

neprane (G) 

poaranna (E) 

bungana (B), bungana (M) 

tiouak (G) 

pugyta (E), louod (G) 

badany (B) 

loowunna (pecanini)' (B) 

* The uniyenal Pidgin-English word. 



Circular Head 

Cloak of kangaroo skins 




Cockatoo (wliite) 

Cockatoo (black) 

Coition, see Propagation 


Come here 

Come (to) 

Come ? will you 

Country (The) aU around 







Crown of shells 

Cry (to) 



Cut (to) 


Day (a) 

Day (fine) 

Day (to) 


Death (to die) 



Dine (to) 

Distance, at a 


Doe (forest) 


Dog (native) 

Down there, a long way 

Drake (wild) 

onaba (L), coomegana (8), congene (R), 

kamnina (M), onaba (P), camena (B) 
maluta (M), martula (B) 
bagota (R) 
limeri (M) 
eribba (B) 
ngarana (R) 
moingnana (R) 
drogue (G) 

malanii (R), mallareede (C) 
todawadda (R), tapera (B), grannemerara (B) 
tipera (M) 

canglonao (P), quangloa (L) 
wallantanalinary (B) 
walana-lanala (M) 
cateena (B) 
renorari (P) 
nubena (R) 
powena (B) 

kella-katena (M), narapalta (B), lina (B) 
canlaride (L) 
taarana (R) 
steka (B) 
rogueri, toidi (L), rog^ri, tordf (P) 

galogra (G), ledrae (P) 

tridadie (G), tagama (R), megra (M), lalena 

(B), loyowibba (B) 
magra (B) 

lutregela (B), lutragala (M) 
waldeapowt (B) 
moingaba (R; 

mata (L), krag baga (G), mata (P) 
lewnana (B) 
comtana (E), nama (W), rediarapa(s) (M), 

patanela (B), rargeropper (B), talba (B) 
bugure (P) 
morana (R) 
ragana (B) 
moukra (G), booloobenara, kuayetta (S), 

comtena (B), loputallow (B) 
leputalla fE) (M) 
renave (L) 

malbena (M), lamilbena (B) 
malbina (B) 



Dress or coyering 
Drink (to) 




Earth or ground 
Earth or sand 
Eat (to) 
Eat, IwiU 
Eat, let US go and 




Evacuate (to) 
Eucalyptus tree 
Eucalyptus, branch of 

the, with its leaves 
Miedlyptm resinifera, 

seed of the 
EuealyptuB^ trunk of 





Family (my) 


Feathers [and Vagina 

Feminina? see also Uterus 

Fern tree 

Fight (to) 



leguma (B) 

lugana (B), laina (L), kible (0), lugana (M), 

laina (P) 
katribiutana (M) catrabuteany (B) 

nairana (E) 

tiberatie (G), roogara (S), pitserata (M), 
cuengi-lia (P), cowwanrigga (B), koy'gee 

cuengi-lia (L), wegge (R), pelverata (B), 

lewlina (B) 
gunta (B), natta (M) 
emita (B) 

kible (G), teegera (C) (giblee) newenna (B) 
made guera (L), madegera (P) 
mat guera (L), matgera (P) 
komeka (G) 
paHnna (B) 

rowella (B), rowella (W) (M) 
padanawoonta (8), ngananna (E), rekuma 

(B), rakana (M) 
legana (B), legard (M), tere (P) 
tara (P), tara (L) 
poroqui (L) 

monouadra (L), monodadro (P) 

p6r§be (L), pirebe (B) 
elpina (G), nubrana (R), ev^rai (C), mame- 
ricca (B), lepena (B), lepina (M), nubere 

tipla (W) (M) 
blaktera (G) 

nubru nubere (L), nepoogamena (S), polla- 
toola (B) 

niparana (B), manrable (B), niperina, man- 

arabel (W) (M) 
midugiya (P) 

tagari-Ha (L), tagari-lia (P) 
nimermena (G), munbamana (B), tatana (B), 

mumlamdna (M) 
kaa-oo-legebra (S) 
munwaddia (B) 
tibera (M), megua (P) 
tena (L) 

memana (B), menana (M) 
monganenida (R) 
patorola (B) 





Fishes (small) of the 

species of Gadus 

Flint, or a knife 
Fly (a) 






FucuB pahnatw 




Girl (Uttle) 

Give me 


Go and eat 

Go, I will [gone 

Go, I will, or I must be 

Go away 

Go away, let us 

Gone, I must be, or I 

will go 

Good, yes [some 

Good (very) or very hand- 
Go on, walk 

Grass-tree ^ 

anme (G) 

lori lori (L), reena (R) 

une (L), padrol (G), nooena (S), ouane (R), 

lopa (B), una (B), leipa (B), lope (M), 

une (P) 
breona (R), pinounn (G) 
pounerala (L), punerala (P) 

trew (B), reannemena (B) 

karde (G) 

cragana (R) 

teroona, trawootta (8) 

paracka (B) 

oell^ (L). oille (P) 

pinega (M), pinega (B) 

mina (M^, muna (B) 

dogna (G), lagarra (R), lagana (B), lula (B), ' 

labucka (B), langana (M) 
rouna (G), druan a malla (S), rougena (R) 
loviegana (M) 
caradi (R) 

pulbena (M), pulbena (B) 
ounadina (R), ulta (B), oltana (M) 
rugona (P) 

crupena (R) 

mengana (B), mengana (M). 

deeberana (R), ludeneny (B), sudinana (M) 

cuchanahu (B) 

noki (L), noki (P) 

tackany (B), kabelti (M) 

mat guera 

ronda (L) 

toga'-rago (C) 

tagara (R) 

tangara (L), tangara (P) 

toga'-rago (C) 

paegrada (R) 


naracoopa (B) 

tabelty (B) 

robenganna (B) robengana (M) 

po^n6 (L), rawinuina (8), rodidana (B), 

myria (B), megra (B), rodedana, publi 

(M), poene (P) 
comthenana (B), komtenana (M) 

* Xanthorrhaa. 



Grease the hair (to) 


Ground or earth 





lan^ poere (L), tane poere (P) 

longa (B), nata (B), gonta (M) 

gunta (B) 

rowennana (B), rowenana (M) 

greeta (R) 

lila (B), lola (B) 

tethana, palanina, pareata, parba (B), 
zitina (M), ciliogeni (P), pelilogueni (L), 
kide (G), nukakala (S) 


caene (P), ca6n6 (L) 


dregena, reegebena (S), nuna (R), anamana 

(B), rabalga (B), anamana (M), ri-lia (P) 


riz-lia (L) 


marakupa (M) 

Handsome (very), or very 


naracoopa (B) 

ingenana (M) 

Hawk (black) 

putuna (M), pueta (B) 

Hawk (eagle) ~ 

enganama (B), corinna (B) 

Hawk, Bee Sparrow-hawk 


eloura (G), neeanapena (8), pathenanaddie 

(B), pulbeany (B), ewucka (B), cuegi (P) 


retena (G) 


renn hatara (G) 


rigl (G), laidoga (P) 

Here, or this 

nuka (B) 




baircutana (B) 


leprena (B), lineda (R) 

Suitrier noir 

lele (G) 


tigate (G) 

Hunt, I will go and 

mena malaga latia (M) 


mana (P^ 
mena (B) 

I, or me, or mine 

Insect of the order 

paro6 (L),* paroe (P) 



lewrewagera (B), lirevigana (M) 

Island (large) 

lachranala (B) 

Jump (to) 

waragra (P) 


laUiga (B), lelagia (W) (M), leina (R) 

taramei (G) 

Kangaroo Boomer 

rena (S) 

Kangaroo Brush 

lena (8) 

Kangaroo Pouch 

kigranana CB), krigenana (M) 
reprenana (B), ripnnana (M) 

Kangaroo Rat 



Kangaroo skin 

boira (L), hleagana (8) 

Kernel of Eucalyptw 



Kick (to) 

vere (?) 

King or chief 

bungana ^B) 


modamogi (R) [lips ; mogudi] 


ienebe (G), nannabenana (B), minehana (M), 

ranga-lia (P) 

Kneel (to) 

guanera (P) 


ragua-lia (L) 

Knife, see Flint 

Know (to) 

tunapie (B), tunepi (M) 

Know, I do not 

nideje (P) 


elpenia, elhenia (G) 

Laugh (to) 

pigne (G), tenalga (B), drohi (P) 


binana (E) 


driue (P) 


(B), latanama (M) 


tavengana (M) 

Let us go 



nnamenina (R) 


une bura (P) 


mogud6 lia (L), mona (G), mogudi lia (P) 


bodenevoued (G), moboleneda (R), canara 

or cuiena (B), lavara (M) 


nu^le (L), nuele (P) 


nure (P) 


Uutece (M) 


kenara (M), canara (B) 


looudouene (G), nagada (R), penna (wybra) 

(B), lusivina (M) 
wibia (B), palewaredia (B), vaiba (M) 

Man (hlack) 
Man (old) 

lowlobengang (B), pebleganana (B), lalu- 

begana (M) 

Man (white) 

ludowing (B), numeraredia (B), ragina, ragi. 

rytia (S), reigina, begutta (R) 

Manehot hleu 

penewine (G) 

Marrow of a hone 

moomelena (S) 


mana (L), pawahi (P) 

Me or mine, or I 

mena (BJ 

Me (for) 

paouai (L) 

Mersey (river) 

pirinapel (M), paranaple (B) 

tegoura (G), wee-etta (S), weethae (R), lu- 


tana (B), weena (B), webba (B), vena (M) 


nigrarua (R) 

Mortal (that is) 

mata enigo 





Month, teeth, or tongue 
Mussel (sea) 
Mutton bird 
Mutton birds 

manura (P) 

blemana (G), tattana (M), powamena (B), 

pamena (B) 
meledna (G), trdwala (M), twinwalla (B) 
mona (G), moonapena (8), canina (E), you- 

tantalabana, cania (B) 
ka'my (C) 
mir6 (L) 
yavla (M) 
youla (B) 

reerana (R), nil (G) 
per^ lia (L) 

toni lia (L), toni lia (P) 
mara (L) 


Nails on the feet 

Nails on the hands 

Name of a man 

Name (another) of a man mera (L) 

Navel lu^ (L), Hu6 (P) 

Neck omblera (G), loobeyera (S), lepina, denia 

(W) (M), lepera (B), denia (B) 
Night livore (G), luena (R), burdunya (P), levira 

(M), leware (B), lewarry (B), crowrowa 

No neudi (L), poutie (G), nendi (P), pootia (B) 

Nose muguiz (L), medouer (G), megrooera (8), 

mudena (R), muidje (C), minarara (M), 
mugid (P)y mena rowarriga (B) 


lemena (M), lemana (B) 


mallau6 (L) 


petebela (M), petibela (B) 


pammere (G), marai (P), par-me-ry (B) 

One side 

mabea (M) 


milabaina (M), milabena (B) 


naba (B) 


tarlagna (G), rauba (R), lonbodia (P) 


taralangana (B) 


luba (P), louba (L) 


mola (P) 


girgra (P), mola (L), carcuca (B) 


treoute (G), trudena (M), trewdina i 
lawaba (B) 

Penis, BBS Virilia 

line (L)* pelgana (G) 

Petrel (black) 

iola (G) 


lognenena (G) 

Pillow (Httle) on 



the men support 




mena (B) 




Play (to) 


Plunge (to) 

bugur6 (L) 

PoliBhing (the action of) 

rina (L), rina (P) 

wood with a shell 


tremana (M), trewmena (B), milma (B) 



Port Sorrell 

wobrata (M), nun6 (L) 


Propagation (the act of), 

loidrougera (L)* 

Bee Coition 

Put wood on the fire 

treni (P) 


manghelena (G), boora (R), talawa (B) 


reidena (B) 


trenn houtne (G) 


bolouine (G) 


nabowla (B), waltomana (M) 

River (large) 

wafthawina (B) 

River (very large) 

waddamana (B) 


montumana (B), montemana (M) 


megog (M) 

Round turn 

mabea (B) 


meUa (B) 

Run (to) 

moltima (B), tagowinna (B), moltena. 

mella (M), tablene pinikta (G) 

Salt water 

lena (R) 



Sand or earth 

emita (B) 


prebena (R) 

Scar, a, or mark on the arm troobenick ( S) 

Scars elevated on the body 

' no'onga (C) 

Sclerya (a species of very 


leni (L) 

legana (G), neetraba (B) 


mole (G) 

Sea-weed (jointed) 

nowalen6 (L)* roenan inu (P) 

Sea-weed (dried) which 

rauri (L), rori (P) 

they eat after having 

softened it in the fire 

Sea- weed (Fuew ciliatus) 

roman inou (L) 


marina (R), cartela (B), kateila (M) 

Seal {otarie) 

oulde (G) 


lapree (B) 

See, I 

quendera (L), rendera (P) 

See (to) 

iamunicka (B) 

Sexual organs, see Femi- 

nina, see Penis 


nemewaddiana (B), rulemena (B) 



kaa-ana (S) 


barana (R) 

Sheoak(a species of fir-tree) lube (R) 

Ship or boat 

lucropony (B) 


tedeluna (R) 

Shout (to) 

camey (B), carnalla (B), kami (M) 

Sing (to) 

kanewedigda (G), ledrani (P) 


tiana (R) 

Sit down 

medi (L), crackeunicka (B), meevenary (B) 

mevana (M), med(, medit6 (P) 

Sit, Bee Stand 


kidna (G), tendana (R) 


poiedaranina (R) 


locla (B) 

Slap (to) 

noeni (P) 

Sleep (to) 

malougna (L), nenn here (G), loagna (R), 

makunya (P) 


boorana (R) 


powianna (B), katal (M) 


oldina (B), oldina (M) 

Soon, by-and-bye 

pairanapry (B) 

Sparrow-hawk, bm Hawk gann henon henen (G) 

Speak (to) 

kane (G) 


preana (S), preena (R), raccah (B) 
kie (P) 

Spear (to) 

Spit (to) 

pinor bouadia (G) 


cackbennina (R) 

Stand, sit, stop or stay 

crackena (B) 


murdunna (B), potena, marama (M) 


oneri (P) 


palana (B), marama (B), daledine (R) 

Stars (little) 

lenigugana (B) 

Stay, Bee Stand 

Stone (a) 

loine (L), lenn parena (G), peoora (S), 

nannee (B), nami (M), loine (P) 

Stone (large) 

lenicarpeny (B) 

Stop, Bee Stand 

Stop (to) 

nashaproing (B), mekrdpani (M) 


tihourata (G) 


canola (M) 

Strangle (to) 

lodamerede (P) 

Stringy bark 

toilena (R) 

Strong or able 

relipianna (B 


ratacrareny (B) 


ratavenina (M) 

Sun (the) 

panumere (L), tegoura? (G), paganubrana 

(S), pannubrae (R), petreanna (B), naba- 

geena (B), loyna (B), piterina (M), panu- 

bere (P) 





Tattoo (to) 
Tear (to) 

TeU, I, you 




That [he, her 

That or them, or they, 

That belongs to me 

That kills 




This, or here 

This way 


Throw (to) 





Time (long) or long way 


Tongue, The 




Two [than 

Two, A higher number 

Understand, I do not 
Untie (to) 
Upset (to) 

Yagina, see Feminina 


Virilia, see Penis 

robigana (B), poblee (B), cocha (B), rowen- 
pugara (R) [dana (M) 

palquand (E) 

palere (P) 

paler6 (L) 


pegui (L), beyge (R), ganna (B), yanna- 

lople (B), cawua (B), yana (M), pegi (P), 

or mouth or tongue ka'my (C) 
mena lageta (M) 
karde karde (G) 
kewatna (G) 
mada lia (L) ♦ 
avere (P), aver6 (L) 
nara (B) 

patourana (L), paturana (P) 
mata e nigo (P) 
teigna (R), tula (B), tula (M) 
kabrouta (G) 
lonoi (P) 
lone (P), lomi (L) 
aliri (P) 

pegara (L), pegara (P) 
manamera, tagina (S), rennitta (R) 
bura (P) 
nimere (P) 
lowewinna (B) 
manuta (B) 
ligrame (R) 
m^n^ (L), guenerouera (G), mene (R), 

mena (B), tullanee (B), mamama (B), 

mina (M), mene (P), or mouth or teeth, 

ka'my (C) 
iane (G; 

moumra (G), weena (R), lup^ri (P) 
moogootena (S) 

kateboueve (G), cal-a-ba-wa (B), bura (P) 
car-di-a (B) 

nidejo (P) 
laini (P) 
moido-guna (P) 
tioulan (G) 

megua (L) 
logowelae (R) 
Hpi (M) 



rocah (B), lorina (R) 

Walk (to) 

tagna (G), tabelti (M), terriga (tablee) (B) 


tabelty (B) 


tarana (R), tana (B) 


lagarudde (K) 

Warm oneself (to) 



boue lakade (G), mookaria (S), leni (B), 

moga (mocha) (B) 

Water (fresh) 

legana (B), moka (B), lugana, moga (M), 

Ha (P), leena (R) 

Water (salt) 

moahakcJi (M) 
tiouegle (G; 

Water (to make) 

Way (long) or long time 

manuta (B) 



Weep (to) 

tara (P), gnaiele (G) 

What do you call this?] 

wanarana (P) 




pinougna (G) 

Whistle (to) 

menne (P) 


cuani (r) 


tegouratina (G), ragalanae (R), loyoranna (B) 


quani (L), loubra (G), quadne (B), lolna 

(lubra) (B), lubra (B) 

Woman (black) 
Woman (old) 

lubra (B), louana (R) 

lowlapewanna (B) 


leipa (B) 

Woman (white) 

reigina loanina (R) 


rogeta (R), quoiba (B) 


moumbra (G), mouna (R), moomara (B), 

weela (B), mumanara (K) (M), gui (P) 

Wood (fire) 

waUiga (B) 

Wood, Dead- 

weegena (S) 


barana (G) 

Yellow ochre 

malane (P) 

Yes! good! 

erre (P) 


nina (L), nina (P), nena (B) 






Sma AS Air Accompanxhemt to a Naiitb Dance os Riawi. 



(From Papert and ProeeedifUgt S&y. Soe. of Tamenia, Vol. III. Ft. II. 1869.^ 









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Short Sentences ik the Natite Lavouaoe. 

Give me a stone 

Give him a stone 

I give you some water 

I will not give you any water 

You give me food 

Tou do not give me food 

Give me some bread 

"We will give you a stick 
We will not give you a stick 
Give me some bread to eat, 
I am hungry 

This is my hand 
This is not my hand 
Sing a song 
"Where is your father? 
My father is here 
He is my father 
He is not my father 
Tell your father of this 
"We go to see the river 
I like to drink the water 
I make the boat go fast 
The ship goes upon the sea 
The waves make the sea rough 
You see the sea over the hill 
Go down from the hill 
Bun over the ground 
Do not run along the road 
The man feeds the dog 
The woman makes a basket 
The woman is very fair 
The child eats his food 
The child is small 

The horse runs on the ground 
The horse kicks the child 
A cow or ox 
Numerals — One 

„ Three 

„ Four 


Lonna or Loina tyennabeah mito 

Lonna tyennamibeah 

Lina tyennamibeah 

Noia meahteang meena neeto linah 

Tyennabeah tuggen6 

Noia meah teang meena neeto tuggene 

Tyenna miape pannaboona or Teen- 

ganana ma pannaboo or Tunghmbib^ 

Tyennambieah weena 
Noia tyennamibeah weena 
Teeanvmiape tuggane, Meeongyneeom6 

or Teeanymeiape teeacottpm'na or Tee- 

ampiap6 Matughala Mapilrecottai 
Keena or Eiena nairawa I 

Lyenn^ riakunna or Eialinghana 
XTngamlea nangeena 
Nangamea numb6 
Nangamea numbe 
Onnabea nangato 
Nialomiah manaiah 
Monna langarrap6 

Parapetaleebea malanna talea warrangat^ 
Tiretya teeakalummala 
Leea leetyah poinummeah 
Koogoomale linoiyack 
Bongtan6 Tyungerawa 
Farraw6 ringapa 
Tyennabeah kaeetabeah 
Lowanna 0II6 tubbrana 
Lowa maleetya 
Teeana malangeebeah 

Fangoonea rene pateleebea 
Fangoonea paraingumenah 

Fagunta wulliawah 
Fugganna marah 

milligan's vocabulary. 


I shall go to my house 

I strike the horse 

Touch his hand 

Do not touch his hand 

Cut down the tree 

Tell him to go to the house 

Speak to the man 

He is in the house 

They jump over the river 

They walk through the river 

Bun along the side of the 

They swim in the river 
They sink in the river 
"We drink water 
He cuts his hair with flint 
My brother has a long arm 
My sister is very tall 
He has two children 
Take a stick and beat the dog 
The dog is beaten with a 

The sun is rising 
The sun is set already 
The moon is risen 
The moon is not seen 
The moon is behind the doud 
You stand behind the tree 
They climb up the tree 
The swan swims in the water 
The water is very warm 
The water is not warm 
Salt water 
Presh water 
He is a good man 
He is a bad man 
Come and drink the water 
This water is salt 
That water is fresh 
Milk comes from the cow 
Send him to get milk 
I saw the tree yesterday 
I have cut my finger 
He limps with one leg 
He sees with one eye 
My face is very black 
Make the horse run fast 
"When the warm weather is 


Tugganna lunameatah 

Fella pangooneah 


TeU6 tall6 parraw6 

Ugana puy6 lote 

Tall6 lenutoo, or Talle leebraluto 

Oonah beah 


Wuggala menaye 

Tang6 menay6 

Tawi rant6 weber6 

Puawe menaye 

Tonge menaye 

Loa liy6 

Tugganna pugheranymee trautta 

Nietta mena oon root' eleebana 

Nienta mena tuggara root' eleebana 


Tial wee pella kaeeta 

Fella kaeeta naoota mena 

Pugguleena pare6bara 

Pugguleena toomla pawa 

Ooeeta or Weeta poena 

Ooeeta mayangti byeack 

Ooeeta toggana warratena lunta 

Mangana lutena 

Crong6 lotta 

Ealungunya tagumena liyetitta 

Lia pyoonyack 

Lia tunnack 

Lia noattye 

lian eleebana or liana eleebana 

Fuggana tareetye 


T'all6 le loolaka lia 

Lia noattye 

Liana eleebana 

Frughwullah packalla 

Rang6 prughwuUah 

Lotta monte meena cotte 

Ei6 poye pueniugyack 



Raoonah mawpack 

Fangoonya ren6 wurrangat6 

Nente pyoonta 



It is now cold weather 
They are white mea (the 

men are white) 
This woman is very white 
Bring him and put him down 

Come along, I want to speak 

to you 

Aha ! you are sulky all of a 

Hold your tongue — be 

patient — by and bye 

Come here 

Walk naked 

Go ashore 

Make a light, I want to see 

Run together (a race) 
Stay or keep a long way off 

Awake, rouse ye, get up 

Don't wake him, let him 

Whisper, speak low, let 

nobody hear 
Hither and thither 


Eiana Eianowitty^ 

Lowana eleebana 

Nunnalea pooranamby or Kannawattah, 

ponnaw^ or Kannawuttah ponnapoo 
Talpyarwodeno tuyena kunnamee, or Tutta 

wuttah onganeenah, or Tunneka ma- 

kunna talmatieraleh 
Anyah ! Teborah ! Keetrelbya noomena 

Mealkamma or metakantibe, or kannyab 

mielbeerkammah, or kanna moonalane, 

"Wannabee kannybo 
Tia nebere, or Tialleh 
Tia reea lungungana 
Taw6 locata 
Men6 le monghatiaple monghtoneel6, or 

matangunabee nubratonee 
Eene nunempte or leongana 
Onamarrumnebere, or crackn6 lo maba, 

(7rkleaba row6 
Tientable taggamunna, or nawatty 

pegraty ! wergho ! or takka wughra 
Tialenghpa lontun-narra, or Kunuyam 

tilanga bah, or Kunnyam narraloyea 
Kukkana lengangya nunty pateinuyero 

or Onabeah daydeah 
Tackwaybee Tutta watta or etc. 

Some Abokioinal Names of Places in Tasmania. 

Cape Portland District 

Country extending back 
from Ringarooma Town- 

Douglas River 

Nicholas's Cap 

Doctor's Creek (East Coast) 

Long Point 

Salt Water Lagoon, near 
the Coal Mines 

Governor's Island 

George's River District 

Maria Island 

Mount Royal and Port 
Cygnet, country lying 



Leeaberryaek or Leeaberra 

Mita winnya, Kurunna poima-langta 

Wuggatena menennya 

Wuggatena poeenta 



milligan's vocabulary. 


Oyster Bay 

High lands behind ditto 

" St. Valentine's Peak, on 

Surrey Hills, Peak like 

a Volcano" of Flinders 
Piper's Biver District 
Port Davey 
East Bay Neck 
Eagle Hawk Neck 
Hsmipshire Hills District^ 

in the North-west 
Barren Joey Island 
Glamorgan District 
Port Arthur 
Macquarie Harbour 
Becherche Bay 
Port Esperance 
Brune Island 
South Arm 
Huon Island 
Betsey Island 
Three-hut Point 
Tinder-box Bay 
Brown's River 
Arch. Island 
Tamar River 
Piper's River 
Swan Island 
Ajthur Biver 
Schouten Island 
Cape Grim 
Mount Cameron (West 

Mount Hemskirk 
Mount Zeehan 
Circular Head 
Frenchman's Cap 
Albatross Island 
Hunter's Island 
Pieman's River 
District north of Macquarie 

Lake St. Clair 
Huon River 
Satellite Island 
Derwent River 
Mount Wellington 
Clarence Plains 

Pothy munatia 




Lueene langhta Muracomyiack 

Teeralinnack or Tera-linna 


Roobala mangana 












Renna kannapughoola 


Poora tingal6 


Wattra Earoola 



Tiggana marraboona 



Roeinrim or Traaoota munatta 


Monattek or Romanraik 









Teemtoomel^ menennye 

Unghanyahletta or Pooranettere 




Crooked Billet and on to 

the Dromedary 
Eange of Hills between 

Bagdad and Dromedary 
Jordan Eiver 
Lovely Banks 
Ben Lomond 
South Esk Biver 
Lagoon or summit of Ben 

St. Patrick's Head 
Tract on the Coast between 

Detention Eiver and 

Circular Head 
Small Island hdf-way be- 
tween Maria Island and 

main land 


Kuta linah 
Tughera wughata 
Miingana lienta 


Lumera genena wuggelena 



Some Nakes of Abobiginbs of Tasmania. 




Wureddy or Goareddy 

Pooblattena (literally, Wom- 

Kakannawayreetya (liter- 
ally, Joey of the Forester 






Maywedick or Maywerick 


Eeeamia puggana 



Rienalbuhye (literally, snow 


A native of Macquarie Harbour 

Native of North- West District 

A native of Oyster Bay 

A native of Macquarie Harbour 

A native of Pitwater 

A native of the North-West 

A native of Oyster Bay 

A native of Lovely Banks 

A native of Circular Head District 

A native of Port Davey 

A native of Pitwater — the only capture 

when ** the line " was out in 1830 
A native of the Derwent Biver District 
A native of Circular Head District 

A native of same District 

A native of Cape Grim interior 
These two last-named were of the family 
captured in 1842 or 1843, and no wild 
aborigines have been seen on the main- 
land since 



Mooltea langana 












A native of Launceston District 

A native of Bay of Fires 

A native of Port Sorell [and Oatlands 

A native of the District about Bothwell 

A native of St. Paul's River District 

A native of North-West District 

A native of Ben Lomond 

A native of Circular Head District 

A native of Oyster Bay 
A native of District of Circular Head 
A native of District of Derwent Kiver 

Taenghanootera (literally, 

weeping bitterly) 
Worromonoloo (literally, 

Bammanaloo (literally, 

Httle gull) 
Wuttawantyenna (literally, 

Plooranaloona (literally, 

Trooganeenie * 


Oattamotty6 or Watta- 










A native of George's Eiver 

A native of Piper's Biver Bead District 

A native of Cape Portland 

A native of East Bank of Tamar Eiver 

A native of 
A native of 
A native of 
A native of 
A native of 
A native of 
A native of 
A native of 
A native of 

George's River 
Port Davey 
Mount Royal 
North-East Quarter 
Bruni Island 
Oyster Bay 
Pieman's River 

A native of the valley of the Tamar River 

A native of Oyster Bay 

A native of District near Detention River 

and Circular Head 
A native of Campbell Town District 
A native of North- West interior 
A native of Port Sorell 
A native of Pitwater [Head 

A native of North- West near Circular 
A native of George's River 
A native of Banks of the Derwent River 

This woman was the last rq)resentative of the race. 


Aboriginal Yerses ur Honotjr of a Great Chief, sitng as ak 


Papp^& Rayn& 'ngonyn&, Papp^& Rayn& 'ng6nyn&, 

Pappela Rayna 'ngonyna ! 
Tok& mengM le&h, Tok& mengM le&h, 

Toka mengha leah ! 
LughS, menghS, le&h, Lugh& mengM la&h, 

Lugha mengho leah ! 

NenH tayp& Itayn& poonyni, Ngii& taypa Hayn& poonyna 

Nena taypa Rayna poonyna ! 
Nen& nawr& pewyllah, Pall&h nawril pewyll&h, 

Pell&w&h, PeMw&h! 
Nena nawra pewyllah, Pallah nawra pewyllahi 

Pellawahy Pellawah ! 

Fragment of another Song. 

WannSp^ Wapp5r^ tep&r&, 
Nenname pewyllah kellape 

Mayn&p&h Kol&h mayp^e& 
Wapp^riL Eon&h Lepp&k&h 

&0., &C.y &C. 

Fragment of another Song. 

Kol&h tunn&m^ ne&nymS 

Pewyll&h puggJlnarril; 
Roon&h Leppak& mal&matt& 

. . . Leonall^ 
Ben&pS tawna newdrra pewurrS 
Kom^k& pawn& p5ol&p& Lel&p&h, 
Nong&n^ may^ah mel&root^r& 
Ko&b&h rem^wurr^h 
&C.y &c.| &c. 




I love you. 

I'll go and hunt. 

I see a vessel on the water 
sailing fast; but she is a long 
way at sea. 

When I went hunting, I killed 
no less than one wallaby, one 
kangaroo, two badgers, and one 
black swan, and being hungry, I 
felt in my pocket for my fire- 
works, in Older to make a fire 
and cook some of my game, but 
I found none. I tiberefore had 
to walk home before I broke my 

When I returned to my country, 
I went hunting, but did not kill 
one head of game. The white 
men make their dogs wander and 
kill all the game, and they only 
want the skins. 

Mena ooyetea nena. 
Mena mulaga. 

Mena lapey lucropey tackay 
penituta moclut carty manuta. 

Mena mulaga laveny powa par- 
mera, tara, lathakar, catabewy, 
probylathery, pamery, haminen, 
traima, pooty, lapry, patrola, 
pomely, pooty, ribby, mena, le- 
prena, meena. 

Malanthana- mena -tackay mu- 
laga, pooty, nara pamery, low- 
gana, lee calaguna, cracky, carti- 
cata ludaumny, parobeny nara 
moogara nara mena loewgana, 
reethen tratyatetay tobanthee- 
linga nara laway, rel-bia mena, 
malathina mobily, worby, pua- 

A Song. 

Taby-ba-tea-mocha-my boey-wa 
Taby-ba-tea-mocha-my boey-wa 
Taby-ba-tea-mocha-my boey-wa 
Loma-ta-roch-a-ba-long-a ra 
Loma-ta-roch-a-ba-long-a ra. 




Poo-ye-came-koon a meta 
Num-ba, keta-rel-ba-ena 
A ka-la-leba-iony-eta 
A ka-ba-mar-keen-a. 


A re-na-too 
A re-na-too. 


Ne-cat a ba-wa. 

P0BTION8 OP Genesis, by WiLinNSON, at Funder's Island. 

Gbnbsis — Chapter I. 

1 . In the beginning God created 
the heaven and the earth. 

2. And darkness was upon the 
face of the deep. 

3. God said, Let there be light, 
and there was light. 

4. And God saw the light that 
it was good, and God divided the 
light from the darkness. 

5. God said, Let the earth 
bring forth grass, and it was so. 

16. God made two great lights, 
the greater light to rule the day, 
and the lesser light to rule the 
night. He made the stars. 

17 God set them in the firma- 
ment of heaven to give light upon 
the earth. 

21. God made great whales, 
and every living creature that 
moveth, which the water brought 
forth abundantly. 


1 . Trota,Godna pomable heavens 

2. Lewara crackne. 

3. Godna came, tretetea, tre- 
tetea, crackne. 

4. Godna capra tretetea lawarra. 

5. Godna came coantana, ni- 
gane rothana rotana tibra. 

16. Godna pomale cathabewa 
tretetea lackrana wahalenna nrrra 
pomale purlanna. 

17. Godna propara narra weali- 
catta tringane trecktea. 

21. Godna pomale lackrane pe- 
nungana, cardea, penungana. 

















25. And God made the beast 
of the earth, and he saw it was 

26. And God said, Let us make 
man in our own image, after our 
own likeness. 

27. And God created man in 
his own image. 

31. And God saw everything 
he had made, and, behold, it was 
very good. 

25. Godna pomale panalla, ilia, 
tabela, sheepana, Gt)dna, capra 
narra coopa. 

26. Godna came, mena pomale, 
wibeelicka mena. 

27. Godna pomale wibalicka 

31. Godna capra, cardea, narra 
pomale, narra came-narra coopa ! 


Tasmanian Shell-Mounds. 
"Mr. Milligan remarked that shell-mounds were of two sorts. 
Shell-beaches, which fell under the domain of the geologist ; and 
shell-mounds proper, formed by aboriginal inhabitants. Shell- 
beaches were usually not far from the shore. In Tasmania and the 
adjacent islands, the elevation of the land had left a succession of 
terraces; one about fifteen to sixteen feet above present high-water 
mark yields thick beds of shells, now quarried out and burned for 
lime, chiefly of a peciunculus still extant in the sea below. On the 
soft sunny sides of river banks, and by the grassy margins of springs 
of water near the sea, heaps of shells occurred under conditions 
which stamp them as the feeding places of the aborigines. A main 
feature of difference between shell-mounds proper and shell-beaches 
was, that in the former the shells had all undergone the process of 
roasting, and he had accordingly observed that they had gone fast 
to decay. When the refuse-mounds consisted of oysters, mussels, 
cockles, and other bivalves, flint knives were usually found in them. 
On the other hand, where the food had been derived from univalves, 
round stones of different sizes were met with — one, the larger, on 
which they broke the shells, the other and smaller having formed 
the hammer with which they broke them. The aborigines had 
assured him that these stones and flint implements would always be 
met with in such mounds ; and, upon examination, he had found it 
so. Bones would also probably be found in artificial shell-mounds ; 
as it was not reasonable to suppose that aborigines would live on 
shell-fish, in a country where kangaroo, wallaby, opossums, wombats, 
and other animals are abundant. Accordingly their custom was to 
sojourn chiefly in the interior, and only occasionally, by way of 
variety, to visit the sea-coast, whence they would make hunting 
excursions inland, carrying back to the scene of their feasts on the 
sea-shore the produce of the chase ; thus mingling bones with the 
exuviae of the shell-fish on which they fed. The character of the 
instruments they used would doubtless be good evidence of their 
position in the scale of civilisation." — Trans. Ethn. Soc. II. 1863, 
p. 128. 


A Surviving Tasmanian Aborigine. 
Nature^ Dec. s, 1889. 

" In your issue of November 14 (p. 43), you refer to the paper read 
by Mr. James Barnard before the Royal Society of Tasmania on a 
Mrs. Fanny Cochrane Smith, who lays claim to be the last surviving 
aboriginal Tasmanian. Since your note appeared, I have read a 
report of the paper published in \\i^ Hohart Mercury ol ^^-pi&cc^tx 10 
last, and think my view on the claim may be of some interest to 
your readers. 

Mr. Barnard states that he knew Mrs. Smith forty years ago when 
she was seventeen years of age, and that during the period which 
elapsed since then until she called upon him shortly before he 
wrote his paper, he had not known of her whereabouts. In favour 
of the claim I can only find that she has, with apparently one 
exception, always been referred to ofl&cially as a pure-bred aborigine, 
and that Parliament appears to have voted her grants on two 
occasions (in 1882 and in 1884) on account of her unique position. 

The objections to the claim may be summarized as follows : — 

(i) From the meagre account given, it appears her hair and 
complexion are both that of half-castes, and we are not supplied 
with any other description of her features or stature or peculiarities 
so as to be able to judge on the question. 

(2) Beyond the mere statement as to mutual recognition no 
evidence is given that the claimant is the same girl Mr. Barnard 
knew forty years ago at Oyster Cove, nor, indeed, is there anything 
to show that this woman is the child, or one of the children, referred 
to by Lieut. Friend in controverting Count Strzelecki's well-known 
views, which quasi fact forms the foundation for the claim. 

(3) The woman herself is reported to have no recollection of 
witnessing, at the age of thirteen, a document sufficiently important 
to have impressed itself on her memory, and it is somewhat strange 
that this very document is said to describe her as a half-caste. 

It would, no doubt, be interesting, were it to be eventually proved 
that this woman Fanny is a pure-bred aborigine, but for the present 
Truganina must be considered the last survivor of her race. 

Hy. Ling Roth." 

Lightcliffe, November 23. 


Abandonment of sick and infirm, 73. 

Abdomen of women marked, 141. 

Abhorrence of fat, 100. 

Abnormal breast, 23. 

Abnormalities, 23. 

Abode of soul, England the, 68. 

Aborigines, first killed, 2 ; surrender of, 2 ; captured, number of, 169. 

Acacia sophora. A, maritttna, as food, 109, 110. 

Accident, how it affected some women, 47. 

Accommodation to European habits, 30. 

Account of decay at Flinders Island, 173. 

Accuracy of geographical knowledge, 165. 

Acknowledgment of deity 66; of defeat, 84. 

Acrobats, gestures outdo, 153. 

Action, gracefulness of, with music, 149. 

Activity, personal, 29 ; mental, 31. 

Acuteness of understanding, lacking, 29 ; of senses, 31 ; display 

of, 88. 
Admiration of pole-axe, 33 ; of gunpowder, 36 ; excited by spear 

exercise, 94 ; shouts of, 147. 
Adornment by cicatrices, 125. 
Adroitness, 21. 
Advances, 49. 

Advancement in civilization, 54. 
Affection, changeable, 13 ; expressed, 46 ; domestic, 46, 126 ; 

for children, 46 ; display of, 56, 127 ; of parents, 46 ; tokens 

of, 77 ; bones of dead worn as token of, 144. 
Affliction, due to evil spirit, 68. 

African, comparison with, 11, 14 ; negroes, comparison with, 15. 
Affairs of honour, 84. 
Ages enumerated, 11, 24, 26, 28; of women, 12 ; of young women, 

12, 89 ; of girls, 42 ; of man's wives, 124. 
Aged left to die, 73. 
Agents' mutation of language, 176. 

Agility, 19, 21, 42, 49 ; comparison with European, 19, 26. 
Agitation, signs of, 39. 

Ixxiv INDEX. 

Aggressiveness of conduct, 60. 

Agriculture, none, 46, 123. 

Aim, precision of, 81, 82 ; correctness of, 83 ; force of, 85. 

Air, open, nights spent in, 21 ; desire to die in, 133. 

Airs, tender, sung, 147. See Songs. 

Alarm, at musket, 50. 

Alga marina for drinking vessels, XI., 143; bag of, 155. 

Alkali ashes for salt, 103. 

Allen, James, surgeon, 173. 

Alsophila australts, pith of, as food, 109, 110. 

Ambuscade, attacks by, 91. 

Ambush and surprise in war, 93. 

Ammunition, theft of, 89. 

Amusement at goat and ape, 37 ; at boat, 39 ; at singing, 42. 

Amusements, 151. 

Andamanese, 217 et seq. 

Anger, how expressed, 20; sacrifice of aborigines to, 61. 

Ankle covered with skin, 142, 144 ; twigs round, 152. 

Animals, wild, aborigines compared to, 29 ; domestic, none, 46, 

123; as food, 100; traced in charcoal, 150; tracking of, 161; 

habits of, known, 166. 
Animated skeletons, comparison of aborigines with, 12. 
Animation, expression of, 47; of songs, 149. 
Ants* eggs as food, 101. 
Anthericum semibarbata, baskets of, 155. 
Antibracheal index, 212. 
Antimony smeared on body, 139. 
Apathy, 53. 

Ape, amusement caused by, 37. 
Apotheosis of two Heroes, 97. 
Apparatus, cooking, ignorance of, 103. 
Appearance not wild or fierce, 29 ; frightful, 139 ; of dancers, 

Appetite, child's, 99 ; enormous, 99. 
Apple, Kangaroo-, 109. 
Approach, apparently unarmed, 89 ; with signs of humility, 89 ; 

with clasped hands, 89 ; quietness of hostile, 88. 
Apron, round waist, 142. 
Arabs in Asia Minor, comparison with, 148. 
Area of Tasmania, 1. 
Arms, hair on, 15 ; how held, 18 ; weak, 26 ; of dead bent at 

elbow, 133; marked with lines, 139; position when using 

stone, 157. 
Armpits, knees in, when sitting, 17. 
Arms hidden, 35 ; stones as, 79 ; knowledge of use of European, 

89 ; preference for own, 89. 
Army, order of, 94. 
Arrd-M^idd, 44. 

INDEX. Ixxv 

Arrival of sealers, 126. 

Arts, 46 ; of war, 83 ; in laying sticks for fire, 97. 

Artful manner, 63, 

Articulation, laxity of, 176. 

Ashes as remedies, 77 ; worn as amulet against sickness, 131 ; of 

dead collected, 132. 
Asiatic, comparison with, 14. 
Assailants, natives seldom, 61. 

Assassination of mother and child, 63 ; of woman, 64. 
Assaults, systematized, 89. 
Assumption of clothing, 173. 
Astronomy, 146. 
Astonishment, expression of, 39. 
Attachment for gaoler, 47 ; to wild life, 119. 
Attack, violence of, 85 ; with stones, 86 ; on hut, 88 ; in parties, 

88 ; led by women, 89 ; skill in movements of, 90 ; individual, 

on European family, 91 ; by ambuscade, 91 ; well planned, 94 ; 

military science of, 94. 
Attempt to drive away Europeans, 86; to restore life in those 

shot, 94. 
Attitude. See Posture. 
Attention, 39 ; distracted by evolutions, 94. 
Audacity, expression of, 59. 
Australijms, comparison with, 25, 29, 30, 72. 
Authority, uncertainty of chiefs, 71. 
Autumn, excursions in, 118. 
Aversion for clothing, 144. 

Avoidance of burial-place, 74; of oflfal and filth, 104. 
Axe with handle, 158. 

Back, hair on, 15, 26; children slung on, 17. 

Bad habits, 20. 

Bags, oval, for fishing, 154; oi Alga marina, 155 ; oi fucus palmatuSy 

102, 166; 143. 
Bands of grass, 15. 
Bandicoots, how carried, 17. 
Bara-OuroUy a fine native, 11, 26. 
Barbarism, sunk in grossest, 30. 
Barbarity, display of, 61 ; of Europeans, 91. 
Barbed spear, 80; use of, 115. 
Bark, used for huts, 121; used on tombs, 129; used for baskets, 

155; rafts of, 162; characters on, 130; charcoal drawings on, 

150; spurge for rope, 154. 
Bartering with Europeans, 160. 
Baskets of grass, IX. X. 114; reed, 155; making, 154; theft of, 

52. See also Bags. 
Battlepiece, drawing of, 150. 

Ixxvi INDEX. 

Beard, 14, 16; strong, 26; thick, 26; allowed to grow, 137; 

grey, 137. 
Beasts of burden, women as, 125. 
Beaten paths for roads, 160. 
Beating of time in music, 149 ; of dead, 94. 
Beehives, huts resembling, 122. 
Belief, 66 ; in spirits, 66, 68 ; in guardian spirits, 67 ; in evil spirit, 

68; in future state, 68; in devil, 68; in happier existence^ 

69 ; in calamities, 74. 
Beldame taunting warrior, 152. 
Bel voir Vale, drawings at, 150. 
Bending legs of dead against thigh, 133. 
Berries as ornaments, 144 ; and fruits as food, 109. 
Betrothal from childhood, 124. 
Bigamists, women, 124. 
Big to^, used in climbing, 16. 
Billardiera longiflora as food, 109. 
Birds, as food, 100; caught with hands, 115; scarceness and 

shyness of, 115. 
Bite of snake, cure of, 76. 
Black hair, 14. 
Black War, end of the, 2. 
Blankets, theft of, 89. 
Bleeding for sickness, 76. 
Blood, Tasmanian, first spill of, 84. 
Bloodless retreat, after attacks, 88. 
Boat, Frenchman's, 34 ; examination of, 35 ; amusement at, 39 ; 

enticement of, 62. See Catamaran, Canoe. 
Bock, portraits by, XIII. 
Body shapeless, 11; contortions of, 19; erect, 20; hair on, 26; 

habit of, 26 ; smeared with earth, 138 ; smeared with clay, 152. 
Boiled water, ignorance of, 108. 

Bold and warlike disposition, 94; boldness, 50; of woman, 51. 
Bones of dead hammered, 96 ; worn as a charm, 67, 76 ; worn as 

tokens of aifection, 144 ; human, not found, 128 ; discovered 

in tomb, 129 ; of animals, marrow from, 159. 
Bon wick, on origin, 217. 
Boohialla as food, 110. 
Boomerang, ignorance of, 79, 82. 
Boronia variabilis^ beauty of, 166. 
Boughs tied with grass, 120. 
Boundaries, regard for, 71, 117. 
Braim's vocabulary, 175. 

Branches of trees, how climbed, 16; broken for guides, 161. 
Brandishing sticks in anger, 20. 
Brave, not, 62. 
Bread, refusal of, 98 ; preference for, 98 ; exchange of wives 

for, 160; making dance, 152. 

INDEX. Ixxvii 

Breaking finger-joints of dead, 94, 96 ; of wood on head, 

Break-winds, XL 22; preference for, 119; as huts, 120. See Huts. 
Breasts, 11; of woman, 12; hanging, 12; firm, 12; well filled, 12; 

hair on, 15 ; abnormal, 23 ; protection of, 69 ; abode of devil, 

69; scarified, 127; marked, 138. 
Broad-chested, 11. 
Broken branches as guides, 161. 
Brows, 9. 

Brushwood, setting fire to, 86. 

Brutality of Europeans, 171, 172; of husbands, 54, 55. 
Brutal in choice of food, 99. 
Brutes, a shade higher than, 30. 
Buildings. See Structure.. 
Bullock-chains, woman bound in, 171. 
Bullying, chieftaincy by, 70. 
Burial, 128 ; in erect position, 131 ; haste in, 134 ; place, avoidance 

of, 74; horror of, 75. See also Tomb, Graves, Cemetery, 

Bums, 76. 

Burning of the dead, 129, 132. 
Burnt oyster-shells as lime, 106. 
Bush fighting, skill in, 88. 
Bushranger tracked, 27. 
Buttons, desire for, 59. 
Buttocks muscular, 11. 

Cardium as food, 107. 

Calamities, belief in, 74. 

Canagongy 111. 

Cannibalism non-existent. 111. 

Canoes, X. XL ; like catamaran, 163; absence of, 114, 161, 162, 

163; of wicker-work, 121. 
Capability for outrage, 47. 
Capacity for civilization, 30. 
Caprice or anger, aborigines sacrificed to, 171. 
Captive, escape of, 63. 
Capture of birds, 115. 
Care of plunder, 89. 

Carelessness towards children, 127; of articulation, 176. 
** Carrots," pickling ears of aborigines, 171. 
Carrying of children, 17; done by women, 119; water, ignorance 

of, 119. 
Cast-off clothing in summer, 142. 
Catamaran, built by women, 126; canoes like, 163; discovery of, 

164. See Canoe. 
Cataract in eye, 21. 

Ixxviii INDEX. 

Catarrhal fever, 23 ; complaints, 75 ; and pneumonic complaints, 
cause of, 173. 

Catching opossum, 113. 

Caterpillar as food, 101. 

Catfish fat on body, 140. 

Cattle tracking, 27. 

Cause of death, 23 ; of feuds, 119 ; of hostility, previous encounter, 
87 ; of hostility to Europeans, 171 ; of catarrhal and pneumonic 
complaints, 173. 

Cautery, 76. 

Ceremonies, initiatory, 127; burial, jealousy of, 132. 

Cemetery, skull placed in, 132. See Burials. 

Changeableness, 18. 

Change of tempei^ature, 22 ; of weather, smearing to resist, 139 ; of 
habitation, 117. 

Character, treachery of, 61, 62; superstition of, 67, 

Characters on bark, 130. 

Characteristics, physical, 26. 

Charcoal, coloured with, 40 ; skin marked with, 137 ; for smearing, 
140 ; animals traced in, 150 ; drawings on bark, 150. 

Charm against adversity, 67 ; for headache, 77. 

Chastity of women and girls, 55. 

Cheeks, 9; hair on, 14. 

Cheerfulness, 29 ; of disposition, 35. 

Cheese, dislike to smell of, 98. 

Chert of metamorphosed rocks, implements of, 155. 

Chest, broad, 11 ; hair on, 14 ; scars on, 22 ; cuts on, 76 ; gashed, 

Chiefs, 70 ; obedience to, 71 ; uncertain control of, 71 ; heads of 
families, 71 ; tribes led by, 94 ; killed, 94. 

Chieftaincy by bullying, 70 ; not elective, 70 ; not hereditary, 70. 

Chieftainess of hostile band, 89. 

Children, upper jaw in, 10; age of, 12; weight of, 12; in orphan 
home, Newtown, 12; suckled over shoulders, 12, 17; features 
of, 13; slung on back, 17; how carried, 17; sores on, 22; 
numerous, 28 ; predominance of, 28 ; and shiny things, 35 ; 
how pacified, 35 ; pull oflf buttons, 85 ; imitation by, 40 ; 
affection for, 46; adopted by Europeans, 48; victims of 
cruelty, 61 ; and mother, assassination of, 63 ; partiality for, 
63 ; war, unaccompanied by, 89 ; left behind in war time, 93 ; 
not allowed sugar, 98; appetite of, 99; betrothal of, 124; 
education of, 127 ; carelessness towards, 127 ; fear of Euro- 
peans, 127; hair like women's, 136; female sold, 167; perish 
for want of food, 167 ; sacrificed to famine, 168 ; snatched 
from death, 168; excuse for destruction of, 168; killed by 
Europeans, 171 ; scarcity of, 172. 

Chimney and door, opening for, 121 ; escape through, 20. 

Chisel, use of, in detaching shell fish, 114, 115. 

INDEX. Ixxix 

Christianity, 48. 

Chipping stone, time devoted to, 157 ; water-worn stone for, 157 ; 

flint, time occupied in, 158 ; stone, one surface only, 159. 
Ciboiium Bi7/ardten as food, 108, 109, 110. 
Cicatrices, XIII., 125. See also Scars. 
Cider-trees, 108. 
Circular lines marked, 139. 
Circumcision unknown, 128. 
Civilization, 49 ; no trace of, 29, 30 ; capacity for, 30 ; irksome, 48 ; 

susceptibility to, 48; advancement in, 54; impossibility of, 

61; contact with, 170. 
Clamorous greeting to friends, 73. 
Clark, Mr., killed, 95. 
Clavicle, 210. 

Clay, hearths of, 104; bodies smeared with, 152. 
Cleanliness of cookery, 104. 
Cleverness in tactics, 93. 
Climate, 1 ; variability of, 22. 
Climbing trees, 15, 17; by women, 112; account of, 113; by aid 

of ropes, 114, 157. 
Clocks, theft of, 89. 
Clothing, 21, 46, 141 ; donned and doffed, 22; not able to invent, 

29; indifference to, 35; used for carrying child, 141; as a 

protection, 141, 142, 143 ; cast off* in summer, 142 ; dislike to 

European, 143; not worn from decency, 143; aversion for, 

144; rejection of, in games, 153; occasioned death, 173. 
Cluster of huts together, 122. 

Coast, seldom [?] visited, 118; visits, evidence of frequent, 118. 
Cockle-shell mounds, 106. 
Coiling pillar of smoke, 97. 

Cooking, 103 ; cleanliness of, 104 ; dislike for European, 99. 
Cold weather, 21 ; susceptibility to, 23; shelter during, 120. 
Collection of ashes of dead, 132. 
Colonists the cause of the war, 83. 
Colour, 15, 39 ; with charcoal, 40 ; attracted by, 59 ; of half-caste, 

Columdei/a shells for necklaces, XIII. 145, 
Comb, fancy for, 54. 

Communication opened with diflficulty, 31 ; 160. 
Companies, encampment in, 120. 
Comparison with Andamanese, 217 ^/ seq, ; African, 11, 14 ; African 

negroes, 15; Asiatic, 14; Australians, 72, 25, 29, 30, 221; 

New Caledonians, 216; Englishmen, 25; Europeans, 31; 

European agility, 19, 26; Frenchmen, 23, 24, 25; Guinea, 

14 ; Lascars, 15 ; London rabbit man, 17 ; negro, 10, 14, 21 ; 

New Irelanders, 14; New South Wales natives, 15; Papuans, 

221 ; Port Jackson natives, 15; Romans, 18, 20; Timorese, 

25 ; Terra del Fuegians, 29. 


Complaints, pulmonary, 22 ; consumptive, 23 ; catarrhal, 76. 

Complexion, 15. 

Concealment at sight of Europeans, 86, 87; by means of mimicry, 19. 

Conduct, orderly, 49 ; treacherous, 59, 60, 63, 89, 90, 91. 

Confidence expressed, 35 ; on shipboard, 37 ; displayed, 50. 

Conflicts between rivals, 83. 

Consideration, humane, 63. 

Constitution /eeble, 26 ; strong, 26. 

Consummate treachery, 92. 

Consumptive complaints, 23. 

Contact with civilization, 170. 

Contest, style of, 88. 

Continued exertion, incapacity for, 25. 

Contortions of body, 19; as signs of delight, 147; of limbs, 153. 

Control, uncertain, of chiefs, 71. 

Convicts. See Europeans. 

Coo-ing, 148. 

Copious vocabulary, 31. 

Coprosma as food, 109. 

Core of fern tree eaten, 108. 

Cord, umbilical, 23; round neck, 144; grass, 154. 

Corkscrew ringlets, hair in, 14. 

Corpses. See Dead. 

Correct portraits, 14. 

Correction by father, 127. 

Correctness of aim, 83; in thirds in music, 148, 149. 

Corrobory, 54; description of, 148; token of pleasure, 151. 

Cough, 77. 

Councils, uncertainty of, 71. 

Countenance, hideous, 12 ; fine, 13 ; expression of, 53. 

Courage, 49, 50 ; display of, 56. 

Covering of huts, with fern and bark, 120. 

Cowering round fires, 22. 

Craftiness, 50 ; display of, 88. 

Cranium, blows received on, 84. 

Crayfish, diving for, 100 ; as food, 120. 

Creator, vague idea of, 69 ; as demon, 69. 

Crown of hair, 136. 

Cruel face, 26. 

Cruelty of disposition, 62 ; to European offspring, 66 ; of conduct, 
60 ; women and children, victims of, 61 ; kindness returned by, 
61, 62; in resentment, 64; of "Carrots," 171; of Harrington, 
171 ; of husbands, 125 ; to women, 126. 

Crustaceae^ supply of, 106. 

Crystals, used for cutting, 136. 

Crystal Palace, exhibits at, 5. 

Culture, susceptible of, 30. 

Cunningham, Mrs., death of, 95. 


Cunning in own sphere, 81 ; display of, 48, 49, 61. 

Cure of snake bite, 76. 

Curious fact, 70 ; structures, 122. 

Curiosity, 33, 44, 62. 

Curly hair, 14. 

Curr, E. M., vocabularies published by, 176. 

Curri'john wood, 79. 

Cushion of kangaroo-skin, 122. 

Cuts on chest, 76. 

Cutting off finger, unpractised, 128; the hair, 136. 

Cyaihodes as food, 109. 

Cyperactous plant for bags, 155. 

Cyttaria as food, 109. 

Dance, imitated, 36, 54; to monotonous song, 149; horse, emu, 
thunder and lightning, 157 ; naked, round fire, 151 ; to repre- 
sent making bread, 162 ; lascivious, medicine, 152 ; at full 
moon, 162. 

Dancers, appearance of, 162. 

Dangerous ground sought in war time, 93. 

Darkness, fear of, 68. 

Day, governed by good spirits, 66. 

Dead, unaccompanied by weapons, 68 ; unaccompanied by food, 
68 ; offence at inquiry of, 74 ; not mentioned, 74 ; sick placed 
around, 78 ; mutilation of, 93 ; beating of, 94 ; unmolested, 
94 ; burning of, 129 ; in hollow trees, 131 ; in natural graves, 
131 ; in sitting posture, 133. 

Dearth of food, children perish by, 167. 

Death of last aborigines, 2 ; by inflammation, 22 ; cause of, 23 ; 
grief at, 46 ; not mentioned, 74 ; desire for, 75 ; devil cause 
of, 77 ; of Hooper's family, 94 ; of chief, 94 : of European 
woman, 95 ; of Clark and Dixon and others, 95 ; at sunset, 
133; song, 132; child snatched from, 168; from regret, 174; 
from home-sickness, 174. 

Decadence untraced, 168 ; account of, 173. 

Deceptive conduct, 91 ; disposition, 92. 

Decorated garments, 142. 

Decoy of pursuers, 89. 

Decrepitude, surrender through, 173. 

Defeat, acknowledgment of, 84. 

Defence by mimicry, 19; treatment in, 61. 

Defiance, succeeded by laughter, 64 ; expressions of, 59. 

Deformation, 128. 

Degradedness, 30 ; denied, 31. 

Deity, acknowledgment of, 66 ; guardian, moon as, 67 ; the 
moon, 67. See Creator, God, Supreme Being. 

Deliberate treachery, 92. 

Delight at red feathers, 41 ; at song, 147. 


Ixxxil " INDEX. 

Demon, Creator as, 69. 

Demonstrative to friends, 73. 

Departed spirits, return of, 67. 

Deportment frank, 53. 

De Quatrefages, on origin, 218-219. 

Designs on skin of chest, 137. 

Desire for death, 75 ; in sickness and death, 119 ; to die in open 

air by fire, 133. 
Desirous of receiving instruction, 30. 

Destitute of foresight, 167 ; of water at Flinders Island, 174. 
Destruction of Europeans, 61; from fire, 64; of unsuspecting 

victims, 92; of ray-fish, 115; of vermin, 123; of infants, 167; 

of half-castes, 168; of child, excuse for, 168; of aborigines, a 

disgrace, 171. 
Detection by footsteps, 27. See Tracking. 
Devil, white, 68 ; belief in, 68 ; Europeans called white, 69 ; 

breasts abode of, 69 ; cause of death, 77. 
Devotion, maternal, 56. 

Dexterity in evading spears, 19 ; at striking, 36. 
Dianella, baskets of, 155. 

DiflSculty in approaching, 31 ; of English control, 71. 
Disappearance, agile, 19 ; sudden, of enemy, 85. 
Disappointment at failure, 54, 
Dirty habits, 22. 
Disbelief in future state, 68. 
Discovery of Tasmania, 1 ; of beds of lime, 106 ; of tomb, 129 ; 

of stone implement workshop, 157. 
Discovering existence of water, art of, 27. 
Discrimination, friends from foes, 65. 
Distinction between European house and hut, 88. 
Disease of skin, 21. 
Disorders, epidemic, 22, 172. 
Diseased left to die, 73. 

Disease, sacred stones to cause, 77 ; eruptive, 77. 
Disgraceful destruction of aborigines, 171. 
Dislike to civilization, 48 ; of kissing, 73 ; to smell of cheese, 98 ; 

to spirits, 98 ; for European cooking, 99 ; of fat for food, 1 39 ; 

for European dress, 143. 
Dismal Creek, implement quarry, 159. 
Dismay at death, 94. 
Display of treachery, 44, 58 ; of vindictiveness, 47 ; of cunning, 

48 ; of confidence, 50 ; of courage, 56 ; of affection, 56, 127 ; 

of hostility, 57; of revenge, 61 ; of barbarity, 61 ; of friendli- 
ness, 64 ; of acuteness and craftiness, 88 ; of jealousy and 

hatred, 88 ; of diabolical cunning, 90 ; of skill in hunting, 112 ; 

of kindness, 126; of passion, 127; of emotion and tears, 132. 
Disposition, cheerful, 35 ; inoffensive, 52 ; open, 53 ; jealousy of, 

55 ; towards Europeans, 60 ; hostility of, 61 ; of cruelty, 62 ; 

INDEX. Ixxxiii 

treacherous, 63, 86 ; deceptiveness of, 92 ; timidity of, 92 ; 

bold and warlike, 94. 
Disregard for life of aborigines displayed by Europeans, 171. 
Dissensions, tribal, 88. 

Distance of aim, 81, 82; of steps notched on trees, 113. 
Disuse of words, 176. 
Diurnal motion of sun, 146. 
Diving for haliotis and crayfish, 100; for food, 101 ; of women for 

haliotis and crayfish, 114 ; use of kelp in, 114 ; women experts 

in, 164 ; of women for food, 164 ; length of time, 164. 
Divorce, recognition of, 124. 
Dixon, G., death of, 95. 
Doctor, 77 ; instruments of, 78. 
Dog running, 25; treated with kindness, 112; kangaroo hunted 

by, 112; used in hunting. 123; fondness for, 123; value of, 

123, 167; carried by women, 125; exchanged for girls, 160. 

See also Puppy. 
Door and chimney, opening for, 121. 
Domestic affection, 126 ; animals, 46 ; none, 128. 
Downy hair, 16. 

Duel, settlement of quarrel by, 72 ; use of spear in, 72. 
Drawings, charcoal, on bark, 150; of battle-piece, 150. 
Dried grass for fire, 96. 

Drinking train oil, 99; vessels, 102, 143, 155, 166. 
Drudges, women used as, 116, 125. 
Drums, 149. 

Drolls ^nd mountebanks, 47. 
Duterreau, portrait by, XIII. 
Dynamometer, trials with, on hands, 24, 25, 26. 

Ears, move to listen, 22; stopped on hearing violin, 148; of 

aborigines pickled, 171. 
Earrings, desire for, 59. 
Echidna setosa^ 166. 
Edge grinding of stone, ignorance of, 156; not serrated, 156; 

obtained by striking off flakes, 156. 
Edible vegetables, 108. 
Education, 48, 127. 
Elenchus shells as necklaces, XIII. 
Elephant fish, refusal of, 101. 
Elves, 67. 

Elysium, ideas of, 69. 
Embarrassment, none, at nakedness, 143. 
Embracing, ignorance of, 45, 72 ; knowledge of, 126, 
Emotion expressed, 47 ; display of, 132. 
Emu dance, 151. 
Encampments, situation of, 119; in companies, 120. 

Ixxxiv INDEX. 

Enemies, revenge on, 65 ; disappearance of, 85. 

Energies, moral, inferiority of, 29. 

England, abode of souls, 68. 

English control, difficulty of, 71. 

men, comparison with, 25. 

Enjoyment at tortures, 66. 

Enmity, 47; towards Europeans, 47; kindness returned by, 

Enticement of boat's crew, 62. 

Entrails as food, 99; not eaten, 103. 

Epaulets, marks resembling, 138. 

Epidemic disorders, 22, 172. 

Epoux etfrkn, 28. 

Erectness, 20. 

Erect position of dead, 131 ; burial in, 131. 

Eruptive disease, 77. 

Escape through chimney, 20 ; of prisoners, 69 ; of captive, 63. 

Estimated population, 169. 

Eucalyptus resinifera bark for huts, 87, 108, 121 ; fence of bark of, 
123; bark of, for rafts, 162. 

Eumarrah, 63. 

European, first killed, 18; comparison with agility of, 19, 26; 
wrestling with, 23; comparison with, 31 ; habits, accommoda- 
tion to, 31 ; thought to be women, 36 ; encounter women, 42 ; 
examined, 44 ; enmity towards, 47 ; adopted children, 48 ; 
offspring, cruelty to, 66 ; treatment of women, 56 ; disposition 
towards, 60 ; revenge towards, 60 ; destruction of, 61 ; in- 
humanity of, 61 ; first murder of, 62, 92 ; not aggressors, 62 ; 
treated as enemies, 62; kindness towards. 64; help towards, 
64 ; called white devils, 69 ; trespass of, 83 ; attempt to drive 
them away, 86; kill children, 87, 167, 171; concealment at 
sight of, 86, 87 ; thrashed, 88 ; barbarity of, 91 ; joy at death 
of, 94; women speared, 95; women, death of, 95; food, 98; 
relations with women, 126 ; children's fear of, 127 ; dress, 
dislike for, 143; bartering with, 160; refuse offer from 
drowning, 164; contact with, 169; struggles with, 170; 
destruction of the aborigines by, 171; brutality, examples 
of, 171, 172; reproduction, 173; native women left in charge 
of, 173. See also Sailors, Sealers, and Settlers. 

Evils, charmed by possession of hair, 77. 

Evil spirit cause of afl3iction, 68. 

Evolutions, settlers* attention distracted by, 94. 

Examination of boats, 35 ; of Europeans, 44. 

Exercise, spear, admiration of, 94. 

Exertions, incapable for continued, 25. 

Exchange of girls for dogs, 160 ; of wives for bread, 65 ; of women 
for bread. 160. 

Excitement and frenzy in dancing, 162, 


Excursions, plundering, 93; hunting, women in, 116; in autumn 
and spring, 118. 

Excuse for destruction of child, 168. 

Exhaustion, pause from, 152; from dancing, 163. 

Existence, happier, belief in, 69. 

Exposure to wounds, 21 ; to bad weather, 22. 

Expression of animation, 47 ; of amusement, 47 ; of countenance, 
63 ; of defiance, 59 ; of emotion, 47 ; of eyes, 39 ; of fear,^ 
82, 84 ; of friendliness, 67 ; of gratitude, 47 ; hideous, 12 ; 
of joy, 33, 34, 45, 87; of number, 146; of passion, 13; of 
pleasure, 64; of rage, 47; of satisfaction, 42; of shyness, 
61 ; of sorrow, 46 ; of stupidity, 69 ; of surprise, none, 29 ; 
of surprise, 32, 40, 45 ; unamiable, 63. 

Extermination, War of, 60, 170. 

Extinction, quarrels die with, 83. 

Extraction of teeth, 128. 

Extremities, 26. 

Eyes, 9; keenness of, 19; cataract in, 21; expression of, 39; 
marked with lines, 139. 

Eyebrows, 9. 

Eyelids, 9. 

Eyesight good, 21. 

Face, hair on, 14 ; cruel, 26 ; coarse, 42. 

Face-ache, 22. 

Faces marked on body, 138. 

Facility and rapidity of hiding, 92. 

Fact, curious, 70. 

Faculty for discovering existence of water, 27. 

Failure, disappointment at, 54. 

Family, number of members in, 28; fires, 119; European, in- 
dividual attack on, 91. 

Familiarity with handshaking, 72. 

Famine, child sacrificed to, 168. 

Fancy for comb, 54. 

Farms pillaged, 25. 

Fasciolaria trapezium^ 107. 

Fatalists, 68. 

Fat, abhorrence of, 100; of wombat used on hair, 135; as food, 
dislike of, 139 ; catfish for smearing, 140. 

Father, correction by, 127. 

Fatigue, continued, not endured, 25. 

Favourite posture of hands, 18 ; posture, 89. 

Fears expressed, 32, 50 ; of punishment, 66 ; caused by fire-arms, 
67; of darkness, 68, 69; children's, of Europeans, 127. 

Fearful expression, 13. 

Feast, oyster-roasting, 106. 

Feather, delight at, 41 ; as ornaments, 144. 


Features, disagreeable, 12, 13; of children, 13. 

Feet, flat, 11; tapping of, for joy, 20; wrapped in skin, 21; 
mocassins on, 143. 

Female animals only as food, 100 ; colour of, 16 ; preference for 
own race, 66 ; submission of, 66. 

Femur, 211. 

Fence of bark, 123. 

Fern as food, 109 ; and bark, covering of huts, 120 ; roots as food, 
108 ; tree, pith of, eaten, 108. 

Ferocity, impossibility to triumph over, 60; of manner, 63; ex- 
pressions of, 84. 

Feuds, cause of, 119. 

Fever, catarrhal, 23, 77. 

Ficoides as food, 108. 

Fights last for hours, 19; in bush, 88. 

Filthy mode of life, 22. 

Filth and offal avoided, 104. 

Firmness in own belief, 68. 

Finger of dead not cut off, 128 ; joints of dead broken, 94, 95. 

Fire, ignorance of production of, 96 ; knowledge of producing, 96 ; 
methods of procuring XII., 96 ; stone and tinder for striking, 
96 ; by friction, 96 ; by rubbing, 96 ; art in laying sticks for, 
97; cowering round, 22; destruction from, 64; family, 119; 
haunts guarded by, 119; hollowing of tree by, 120; legend of 
origin of, 97 ; signal of challenge, 84 ; set to brushwood, 
86 ; weapons, preparation by, 80 ; lightning, supposed origin 
of, 96. 

Fire-arms, European, effects of, 38; explained, 34; theft of, 89; 
use of, 48 ; unalarmed at, 53 ; unnecessary for protection, 

Firing of grass, 111. 

Fire-stick, 96. 

First aborigine killed, 2, 84 ; aborigine killed, height of, 11; 
European killed, 18, 62; European settlement, 1, 2. 

Fish grease, for hair, 137; scaled, 74; not used as food, 114; 
spearing of, for sport, 115. 

Fish-hooks, ignorance of, 114. 

Fishing, 82. 

Fixed habitation, 46. 

Flakes of stone, striking off, 158. 

Flesh eaters, but not cannibals. 111. 

Flexibility, 21. 

Flight frequent, 31, 32. 

Flinders Island, rapid mortality at, 173. 

Flint stone, 16, 17; for fire, 96; locality for obtaining, 118; for 
cutting, 136; and glass for cutting scars, 138; time occupied 
in chipping, 158. See also Stones. 

Flogging of aboriginal women, 171. 

INDEX. Ixxxvii 

Flour, theft of, 98. 

Flower, Prof., on origin, 218. 

Flowers as ornaments, 144. 

Foe, generosity for, 64. 

Fondness for dogs, 123; for offspring, 127; of mother, 168. 

Food, 98 ; dead unaccompanied by, 68 ; certain, rejection of, 75 ; 
shell-fish as, 75, 100 ; refusal of European, 98 ; greediness for, 
99 ; devoured voraciously, 99 ; entrails as, 99 ; brutal in choice 
of, 99; various animals as, 100; pearl-scallop as, 104; kinds 
of, 109, 120; leaves of orchids as, 109; fish not used as, 114; 
shell-fish and mutton-fish as, 114; oysters and opossums as, 
115; skin of kangaroo as, 116; procured by women diving, 
164; injudicious change of, at Flinders Island, 173. 

Foot, spear in, 82; length of, 211. 

Footmarks, detection of, 27. 

Form, 9 ; lowest, 29. 

Force of aim, 85 ; manual, 25. 

Forcing women to visit Europeans, 56. 

Forehead, 9; low, 137. 

Fore-finger, position of, when using stone, 157. 

Foresight, absence of, 167. 

Fowls and ducks, rejection of, 52. 

Frame well proportioned, 11 ; attenuated, 12. 

Franks, Mr., attack on, 93. 

Frenchman, struggle with, 24 ; watched by women, 34. 

Frenzy and excitement in dancing, 152. 

Frkre et ipoux, 28. 

Friction, fire obtained by, 96. 

Friend, discrimination of, from foe, 65; politeness to, 65; de- 
monstrative to, 73. 

Friendliness, expressions of, 57 ; display of, 64. 

Friendly at meeting, 62. 

Friendship, signs of, 57, 87; towards friends, 65; intentions of, 
87 ; hostility under cloak of, 91. 

Fruitless pursuit, 92. 

Fucus and fern roots as food, 102. 

Fucus palmatus, XI, 102; as pitcher, 166. 

Fuel lighted, platform on raft for, 97. 

Fugitive tribes tracked, 27 ; at Richmond, 126. 

Funeral pyre, lighting of, 132; rites, ignorance of, 134. ^^^ also 

Fungi as food, 108. 

Fur of food singed off, 102 ; worn, XIII ; inwards, 142. 

Future state, belief in, 68 ; disbelief in, 68. 

Gait firm and stately, 20 ; graceful, 21. 
Games, 151. 

Ixxxvili INDEX. 

Gaoler, atachment for, 47. 

Gaimard's vocabulary, 175. 

Garson on origin, 220. 

Gastrodi sessamdides as food, 109. 

Geese, 37. 

Generosity for foe, 64. 

Genital organs, 11. See Natural and Private Parts. 

Genius, personal, 29. 

Geographical knowledge, good, 165. 

Geranium parviflorum as food, 110. 

Gesticulation, habit of, 176. 

Gestures, imitation of, 43 ; boisterous, 84 ; violent exhibition of, 

93 ; as signs of delight, 147 ; accompany song, 147 ; imitation 

of, 148. 
Ghost, 68. 

Gifts, gratitude for, 64. 
Gimlets, learn use of, 52. 
Girls, race with, 25 ; sweetness of, 40 ; age, 42 ; trained, 48 ; 

chastity of, 55 ; exchanged for dog, 160. 
Glass, used in cropping hair, 136. 
Gloves, story of surprise at, 40, 58. 
Gluttony, great, 99. 
Goat, amusement caused by, 37. 
Goblins, 67. 
God, 67 ; ideas of, 69. 
Government, 46, 70. 
Grace, manly, 21. 
Graceful gait, 21. 

Gracefulness of action accompanying music, 149. 
Granite, implements of, 155. 
Grass, band of, 15 ; rope, 16, 154 ; dried for fire, 96 ; firing of, 111 ; 

rest on, 117; basket of, 114; boughs tied with, 120; roof 

made of, 121 ; use of in tomb, 129 ; twisted, dead, bound 

with, 133. 
Grass tree, stem as targets, 153. 
Gratitude expressed, 47 ; for gifts, 64. 
Grave, description of, 131. See also Tomb, Burial. 
Gravy retained in roasting, 102. 
Grease, smearing with, 94; hair smeared with, 135; to keep 

wounds open, 138 ; on bodies, 139. See Fat. 
Great Lake, implements from, 157. 
Greediness for food, 99. 
Greeting, clamorous, to friends, 73. 
Grief at death, 46 ; of mother, 46. 
Grinding edge of stone, ignorance of, 156, 159. 
Grubs as food, 101. 
Gualiheria hispida as food, 109. 
Guano as food, 100. 

INDEX. Ixxxix 

Guides, broken branches as, 161. 
Guinea, comparison with natives of, 14. 
Gunpowder, admiration of, 36. 

Habitation fixed, 46; watching of hostile, 92; change of, 117; in 
hollow of tree, 120 ; of spirits, 67. 

Habit bad, 20; dirty, 22; of gesticulation, 176; of migration, 119; 
of body, 26; of animals known, 166. 

Hair, XIII. XIV., 13; not deficient, 14; tangled, 54; like rat 
tails, 135; like corkscrews, 135; woolly and clotted, 135; in 
knots, 135 ; resembles painted rope, 135 ; method of wearing, 
135; cushion formed by, 136; cutting, 136, 157; dirtiness of, 
136 ; smeared with fat off soup, 139 ; smeared with ochre, 
135 ; of women cropped, 136 ; of women different from men, 
136 ; of children like women, 136 ; on body, 26 ; on back, 26 ; 
on pubes, 15 ; evils worked by means of, 77 ; curliness, 221 ; 
comparative study of, 221. 

Half-castes, destruction of, 168; hatred towards, 168; colour of, 
173 ; children of Sarah and Harriet, 172. 

Haliotts as food, 75, 107 ; by diving, 100 ; seasonal scarcity of, 118. 

Hamy. See De Quatrefages. 

Handkerchief, red, attraction by, 53 ; accepted, 160. 

Handles, absence of, 156, 158, 159; axe with, doubtful, 158. 

Hands, small, 1 1 ; strength of, 25 ; on head, 1 8 ; favourite posture 
of, 18 ; on head for joy, 20; shaking, 33; shaking, familiarity 
with, 72; clasped overhead, 89; birds caught with, 115; 
splitting of stone by, 155; size of, 211. 

Hand-saws, readiness with, 37. 

Harmlessness of natives, 64. 

Harmony, singing with, 148 ; of song, 149. 

Harriet, half-caste children of, 172. 

Harrington, cruelty of, 17U 

Haste in burial, 134.* 

Hatchet, 36. 

Hatred and outrage expressed, 49; towards persecutors, 87; 
display of, 88 ; towards half-castes, 168. 

Haunts guarded by fires, 119. 

Hay- band, used as ladder, 113. 

Head well developed, 11; hair on, 14; hands on, 18; between 
knees in sleep, 18; hands clasped over, 89; fractured, 91; 
mutilation of, 94 ; not covered, 143 ; of dead man hung on to 
woman, 171. 

Head-ache, charms for, 77. 

Height of aborigines, 11. 5<f^ Stature. 

Health good, 21. 

Heels, squatting on, 17. 

Help towards Europeans, 64. 

Hearing by moving ears, 20 ; acute, 26, 27. 


Hearths of clay, 104. 

Hemia, 23. 

Heroes, two, 97. 

Hickson on hair, 221. 

Hiding by representing tree stumps, 19 ; facility and rapidity of» 

Highland bag-pipe, comparison with, 149. 

Hobart Town Gaol, 82. 

Holding stone, method of, 157. 

Hollow in trees as habitation, 120 ; trees, dead placed in, 131, 132. 

Hollowing of tree by fire, 120. 

Homage, 70. 

Home-sickness, death from, 174. 

Honour, aifairs of, 84. 

Hooper family, massacre of, 91. 

Horror of burial-places, 75. 

Horse dance, 151. 

Horse-shoe marks, 138. 

Hostile band, chieftainess of, 89. 

Hostility at height, 2 ; display of, 57 ; of disposition, 61 ; returned 
for kindness, 62 ; resentment of, 66 ; of tribes, 83 ; caused by 
previous encounter, 87 ; none exhibited, 87 ; intentions of, 
91 ; under cloak of friendship, 91 ; to Europeans, cause of, 

House and hut, distinction between European, 88. 

Housetop Tier, iron glance from, 141. 

Human bones not found, 128. 

Humane consideration, 63. 

Humerus, the, 210; Humero-femoral index, 212. 

Humour, 36, 47. 

Hunting and fishing. 111 ; kangaroo, 112 ; display of skill in, 112 ; 
opossum, 112; excursions, women in, 116; grounds, right of, 
116; use of dogs in, 123; the aborigines, a pastime, 171; 
suppressed at Flinders Island, 173. 

Husbands in ambush, 43 ; brutality of, 54, 55. 

Huts, scarcity of, 117; smallness of, 117; break- winds as, 120; or 
break- winds, pattern of, 121 ; description of, 120 ; not rain- 
proof, 120 ; roofed with fern and bark, 120 ; in semicircle, 121 ; 
of wicker-work, 121 ; cluster together, 122; resembling bee- 
hives, 122; thatched, 122; built by women, 126; solitary, 
European attack on, 88 ; European plundering of, 89. 

Huxley on origin, 217. 

Hyaena, swimming capacity of, 166. 

Hymn sung by women, 149. 

Ideas of Elysium, 69 ; of God, 69 ; vague, of Creator, 69 ; of future 
state, 69 ; sensual, of future state, 69 ; of proper manners, 73. 
Idols, ignorance of, 69. 


Ignorance of kissing and embracing, 45, 72 ; of jealousy, 56 ; of 
Supreme Being, 66 ; of religious rites, 66, 68 ; of idols, 69 ; 
of laws, 70 ; of chieftaincy, 70 ; of boomerangs or wom- 
meras, 79 ; of production of fire, 96 ; of cooking apparatus, 
103; of ovens, 106; of boiled water, 108; of fishhooks, 114; 
of storing provisions, 116; of making wells, 119; of carrying 
water, 119; of making rainproof huts, 120; of marriage, 123; 
of initiatory rites, 127; of funeral rites, 134; of immodesty, 
143 ; of indecency, 143 ; of grinding edge of flint, 156. 

Ill-treatment of women, 54. 

Imitation, 47 ; by children, 40 ; of gestures, 43, 147 ; of kangaroo, 

Immodesty, not felt, 143. 

Immortality of souls, 67. 

Implements, scalpriform, 156 ; workshop, 157 ; quarry, 159. See 
also Stone. 

Improvement in war, 49. 

Improvidence, 48. 

Impossibility to triumph over ferocity, 60 ; of civilization, 61. 

Inattention to strangers, 29 

Incantation, 70. 

Incapacity for continued exertion, 25. 

Incisions for rheumatism, 76. 

Indecency not felt, 143. 

Independence of tribes, 71. 

Indifference to presents, 29 ; to clothing, 35 ; to strangers, 73. 

Indriscriminate slaughter of animals, 48. 

Individual possession, 72; attack on family, 91. 

Indolence of men, 125. 

Inexhaustible patience, 92. 

Infant confided to Europeans, 35. .S*^^ also Children. 

Infanticide, 167. 

Infecundity through infidelity, 172. 

Inferiority of moral and intellectual energies, 29. 

Infidelity, infecundity through, 172. 

Infirm, abandonment of the, 73. 

Inflammation, incision for, 76. 

Inflammatory diseases, 173. 

Influence of dead over devil, 78. 

Ingenuity, 49. 

Inhumanity of convicts, 61. 

Initiatory rites, ignorance of, 127. 

Injudicious change of food at Flinders Island, 173. 

Injury, from Europeans, regard of, 55 ; revengeful of, 64. 

Inoffensive disposition, 52 ; manners, 87. 

Insensibility to kindness, 63 ; to pain, 138. 

Inspiration, Satanic, 78. 

Instincts, parental, 167. 

xcii INDEX. 

Instruction, desirous of, 30. 
Instruments of doctor, 78. 

Intellect, lowest, 29 ; compared with instinct, 49. 
Intellectual powers, 29, 31 ; energies, inferiority of, 29, 30. 
Intelligence, 48, 54 ; of pupils, 49. 
Intentions of friendship, 87 ; of hostility, 91. 
Intercourse without resentment, 62. 
Intermembral index, 212. 
Internecine wars, 83. 
Intertribal wars, 19. 
Interviews, 32. 
Intoxicating liquor, 108. 
Invention of clothing, 29; displayed, 31. 
Iris, 9. 

Iron, oxidized, used in hair, 141 ; glance smeared on body, 141 ; 
tools, not appreciated, 159, 

Javelins not poisoned, 85. 

Jaw, 10 ; upper, in children, 10 ; upper, teeth in, 21 ; bones, 
XIII. 10. 

Jaw bones, how carried, 223. 
ealousy of strangers, none, 29 ; of disposition, 55 ; ignorance of, 
56 ; and hatred, display of, 88 ; women's care to avoid, 125 ; 
of burial ceremony, 132. 
^ oints of fingers broken, 94, 95. 
] okes, practical, 47. 
] orgensen, Jorgen, vocabulary, 175. 

] oy, expression of, 20, 34, 45, 87 ; on receiving presents, 33 ; 
stamping sign of, 40 ; shouts of, at meeting, 73 ; at death of 
European, 94; shouting sign of, 151. 

}umbo, 20, 54. 
ump from rocks, 19 ; down precipice, 32. 
/uncus acutus for baskets, 155. 

Kangaroo as food, 100; method of killing. 111 ; hunt, account of, 

112; hunted by dogs, 112; sinews as necklaces, 144; sinews, 

XII., rope from, 113. 
skin, 33; children carried in, 17; rope, 16, 154; as 

food, 116; use of, 122; as covering, 141; round ankles, 144; 

rugs, playing on, 152. 

teeth as ornaments, 144. 

apple, 109. 

dance, 151. 

rats carried, 17. 

Keenness of sight, 19. 

Kelp, leaf of, 109; use of, in diving, 114, 164. 

Killing of first European, 18; of stubborn aboriginal women, 172. 

Kindness, hostility returned for, 62; returned by cruelty, 61, 62; 


grateful for, 62; from Europeans, 63; insensible to, 63; 

peaceable if dealt with, 64 ; towards Europeans, 64 ; of women, 

64; returned by enmity, 86; dogs treated with, 112; to 

women, 126; display of, 126. 
Kissing, ignorance of, 45, 72 ; dislike of, 73. 
Knees in armpits when sitting, 17; head between, in sleep, 18; 

covered with skin, 142. 
Knee-joints, 68. 
Knife, method of using, 157 ; kinds of stone for, 159. 

La Billardi^re's vocabulary, 175. 

laceration for pain, 75. 

Ladder, tomahawk, and hayband, 113. 

Lalla Rookh, or Truganina, last female representative, death of, 2. 

Language, 176 ; compared with Andamanese, 222-223. 

Lanney, last male aborigine, death of, 2. 

Lascars, comparison with, 15. 

Lascivious dances, 152. 

Laughter, 20 ; succeeded by defiance, 54 ; caused by song, 147. 

Laws, ignorance of, 70. 

Laxity of articulation, 176. 

Leaves of orchids as food, 109 ; use of, for thatching huts, 121. 

Leaping, agility in, 26. 

Legs weak, 26; of dead bent against thigh, 133; marked with 

lines, 139. 
Legend of origin of fire, 97. 
Lenereglelangener, a chief, 95. 
Leprosy, wallow in ashes for, 76. 
Leptospfrmum, 80, 81. 
Leucopogon gnidium as food, 109. 
Lhotsky, Dr., vocabulary, 175. 

Licentiousness generated disorder, 173; of women in later days, 173. 
Life, mode of, 22 ; routine of, simple, 30 ; of native shot, attempt 

to restore, 94 ; wild, attachment to, 119. 
Lighting of funeral pyre, 1 32. 
Lightning, 68 ; supposed origin of fire, 96. 
Limbs, 11, 26; contortion of, 153. 
Limb-bones, 209. 
Limbs of trees, how climbed, 16. 
Lime, burnt oyster-shells as, 106. 
Limpets as food, 104 ; Patellae as food, 107. 
Lineaments, 12. 
Lips, 10. 

Liquor, intoxicating, 108. 
List of tribes, 165. 
Living, coarse, 22. 
Loathsome sores, 22. 
Lobsters as food, 102. 


Locality of spirits, 66. 

Loins, kangaroo-skin round, 143. 

Loss of toe, 127. 

Lungs, disease of, 22 ; affected, 23. 

Macquarie River, implements from, 156. 

McGeary*s vocabulary, 175. 

Madness, 68. 

Malar bones, 9 

Male animals only as food, 100. 

Males at age of puberty, 127, 138. 

Malevolence of spirits, 67. 

Maligned, much, 30. 

Mammae, 12. 

Manly grace, 21. 

Manner, apparently artless, 63; artful, 63; proper ideas of, 73; 
inoffensive, 87 ; alluring, 92 ; ferocity of, 63. 

Manual force, 25. 

March, travelling in month of, 118. 

March of surprise, 84 ; description of a, 84. 

Marks raised on skin, 137 ; rude, on bark, 150. 

Marriage, ignorance of, 123. 

Marrow from animal bones, 159. 

"Marseillaise," effect of the, 147. 

Massacre, of Hooper family, 91 ; first, of aborigines, 87. 

Maternal devotion, 56. 

Means of concealment, 91. 

Meals, reclining at, 18, 102. 

Meat, roasted in skin, 103. 

Medical relief, grateful for, 64. 

Medicine, 75 ; dances, 152. 

Medullary substance in hair, 14. 

Meeting, 46 ; friendly, 62 ; shouts of joy, 73. 

Melaleuca, 80, 81 ; raft made of, 163. 

Melodiousness of voices, 149. 

Members of family, numbers of, 28. 

Memory, 31, 49. 

Men carry spear, shield and waddie, 125 ; selfishness of, 125 ; 
indolence of, 125; women's subordination to, 125; tracking 
of, 161 ; not swimmers, 165. .S"^^ also Males. 

Mental power and activity, 31. 

Merry-making at full moon, 148. 

Metallurgy, ignorance of, 46, 159. 

Metamorphosed rocks, implements of, 155. 

Method of holding stone, 157; of killing kangaroo, 111 ; of pro- 
curing fire, 96 ; of using knife, 157 ; of wearing hair, 135. 

Mesemhtyanthemum equilaterale^ 73, 77; as food. 111. 

Midnight, singing at, 149. 


Migration, according to season, 118; periodical, 118; habits of, 

Mildness of character, 29. 

Miles, three, swam by women, 165. 

Military science of attack, 94. 

Milligan's vocabulary, 176, Appendix. 

Milk, breasts well filled with, 12. 

Mimicking Europeans, 50. 

Mimicry, concealment by means of, 19. 

Mind, strength of, 75. 

Misunderstanding, cause of the war, 85. 

Mocassins on feet, 143. 

Mode of life, 22. 

Modesty of women in sitting, 17. 

Monogamy, 124. 

Monotonous song, dancing to, 149. 

Moon as gurdian deity, 67; full, merrymaking at, 148; full, dance 
at, 152. 

Moral energies, inferiority of, 29. 

Mortality, rapid, 173. 

Mother, grief of, 46 ; affection for child, 46 ; and child, assassina- 
tion of, 63 ; fondness of, 168. 

Motions, 15 ; rotatory, of spear, 81. 

Mounds of shells, 107. 

Mount Cleveland, drawings at, 150. 

Mount Morriston, implements from. 156. 

Mountebanks, 47. 

Moustache, 14. 

Mouth, 10. 

Movements, 21 ; of attack, skill of, 90 ; moving ears to listen, 

Mozambique Kaffirs, comparison with, 137, 

Miiller, Fried., on origin, 218 ; on language, 222. 

Munday, George, death of, 18. 

Murder and plunder, objects of assault, 89 ; of first European, 62, 

Murray's bust of Truganina, XIII. 

Muscular aborigine, 11. 

Mushrooms as food, 109. 

Music, 147 ; gracefulness of action with, 149. 

Musical box, effect of, 20. 

MusquitOs native of New South Wales, 30. 

Mussels as food, 100, 120; Mytilus as food, 107. 

Mutilation of the dead, 93 ; of head, 94. 

Mutton-bird, 77 ; oil for cleaning necklaces, 144. 

Mutton-fish as food, 114. 

Mylitta Aus traits as food, 110. 


Nakedness, 21, 141 ; no embarrassment, 143. 

Name given to vegetables, 37. 

Namma, name of evil spirit, 68. 

Natives seldom assailants, 61. 

Natural Forms, 165; Graves, 131; History, 166; parts small, 

11 ; concealed by women when sitting, 17 ; politeness, 

Navigation, 161. 

Navel puflfed up, 23. See Private Parts and Genital Organs. 
Native bread or truffle, 108, 110; nutritiveness of, 109; carrot, 110; 

potato, 109. 
Necklace of shells, XII., XIII., 33, 138. 
Needle picked up in grass, 27. 
Negociations, uncertainty of, 71. 
Negro, comparison with, 10, 14, 15, 21. 
Neighbours, wives stolen from, 124. 
New Caledonians, comparison with, 216. 
New Holland. See Australia. 
New Irelanders, comparison with, 14. 
New South Wales natives, comparison with, 15. 
Nicking hair, 157. 
Night governed by evil spirit, 66 ; spent in open air, 21 ; terror of, 

69, 117; travelling by, 119. 
Nightmare, 68. 
Nimbleness, 19. 

Norman, Rev., vocabulary of, 175. 
Nose, 9. 
Nostrils, 10. 

Notch in tree for climbing, 16, 17, 113, 114, 157. 
Notched stones for cutting bark, 158, 159. 
Novelty, not surprised at, 73. 
Number, expressions for, 146. 
Nutritiveness of native bread, 109. 

Obedience, 70 ; to chiefs, 71. 

Objects displayed, 44 ; of assaults, murder and plunder, 89. 

Obligation, promises no, 63. 

Observance of a superior, 71. 

Ochre, red, in hair, 14 ; hair smeared with, 135 ; skin smeared, 

with 139. 
Odour, peculiar, 15. 
Oflfence, how expurgated, 19; at inquiry of dead, 74; at mention 

of absentees, 74 ; wrestling, cause of, 85. 
Offspring, fondness for, 127. 

Oil from mutton-bird and penguin for cleaning necklaces, 144. 
Open air, nights spent in, 21. 
Open disposition, 53. 


Opening for door and chimney, 121. 

Operations against settlers, 30. 

Opossums as food, 100, 115; hmiting, 112; catching, 118; skin as 
covering, 142. 

Orbits, 9. 

Orchids, leaves of, as food, 109. 

Orchidaceae as food, 110. 

Order of army, 94 ; by conduct, 49. 

Origin of Tasmanians, 212-214, 216, et seq, ; of fire, lightning sup- 
posed, 96 ; legend of, 97. 

Ornaments, 144. 

Ostrea as food, 107. 

Osteology, 190-216. 

Our6-Our6, 40, 143. 

Ouriaga, 26. 

Outrage, capability for, 47. 

Ovens, ignorance of, 106. 

Oxidized iron used in hair, 141. 

Oyster resort, 105 ; roasting feast, 106; as food, 115. 

Oyster-shells and limpets found, 117 ; seasonal scarcity of, 118. 

Pace, slow, 20. 

Pacifying an infant, 35. 

Paddles, sticks as, 162 ; use of, 163. 

Pain, susceptibility to, 37 ; laceration for, 75 ; insensibility towards, 

Painting, 137. 

Palaeolithic man, comparison with. III. 
Pantaloons, story of, 34. 
Puppy, suckled by women, 123. 
Parents* affection, 46; instinct, 167. 
Parker, Mr., death of, 95. 
Parties of natives, large, 28 ; attacks in, 88. 
Parting, treacherous, 62. 
Partiality for children, 63. 
Passions expressed by eyes, 9; expressed by face, 13; display 

of, 127. 
Pathology, 21. 
Paths for roads, 160. 
Patience, inexhaustible, 92. 
Patellae, as food, 107. 
Pattern of huts or break-winds, 121. 
Pause from exhaustion, 152. 
Peaceable disposition, 52 ; if kindly treated, 64. 
Pea family as food, 1 10. 
Pearl-scallop as food, 104, 120. 
Peculiar manner of wearing the hair, 13. 
Peel, parish of, implements from, 156, 159. 


Peletega, 82. 

Pelvis, 206. 

Pellets, tufted, of hair, 14. 

Penderoine, a chief, 138. 

Penguin oil, for cleaning shell necklaces, 144. 

Perception, quickness of, 31. 

Periodical migration, 118. 

Persecutors, hatred towards, 87. 

Peron's vocabulary, 175. 

Personal activity, 29 ; genius, 29. 

Perspiration repressed by clothing, 173. 

Physiognomy, 9, 12 ; expressive, 13 ; savage, 26, 39. 

Physical powers, 23 ; characteristics, 26. 

Pickling aborigines' ears by European, 171. 

Picnic party, hunting for aborigines, 171. 

Pillage of farms, 25. 

Pillar of smoke, 97. 

Pillory, resemblance to, 72. 

Pillows of kangaroo-skin, 122. 

Pin, surprise at, 45. 

Pitcher of sea- weed, XI. 102; of Alga marina, 155; of Fucus 

palmatusy see Description of Plates. 
Pith of fern tree eaten with fish, 108. 
Piitosporum hicolor, 81. 
Plaiting strings of bark, 154. 
Platform on raft for lighted fuel, 97. 
Plajring on kangaroo rugs as drums, 148, 152. 
Pleasure at success, 54 ; expression of, 54 ; corrobory token of, 151. 
Plumbago, smeared on body, 139. 
Plunder, care of, 89. 
Plundering of hut, 89 ; excursions, 93. 
Poisoned spear, 80 ; not poisoned, 85. 
Pole axe, admiration of, 33. 
Politeness to friends, 65 ; natural, 103. 
Polishing shells with oil, 144; stone, ignorance of, 159. 
Polytheists, 67. 
Polygamy, 124. 

Population, 168; estimated, 169. 
Porcelainites, stone implements of, 156. 
Porphyry, implements of, 155. 
Port Jackson natives, comparison with, 15, 
Portraits, 14. 

Position, erect, in burial, 131, 133. 
Posture of women when sitting, 17; in sleep, 18 ; of hands, 18; 

in throwing spear, 21 ; favourite, 89 ; sitting of dead, 133. 
Potatoes, acceptance of, 98; native, 109. 

Powers of tracking, 27; intellectual, 29; mental, 31 ; physical, 23. 
Practical jokes, 47. 


Precarious subsistence, 99. 

Precipice, jump from, 32 ; sought in war time, 93. 

Precision, in tracking, 31 ; of aim, 81, 82 ; in time beating, 149. 

Predominance of children, 28. 

Preference for wild state, 48 ; female's, for our race, 56 ; for their 

own arms, 89 ; for bread, 98 ; for break- winds, 119 ; of dog to 

child, 167. 
Preparation of weapons, 79, 80. 
Prepuce, 20. 
Presents, indifference to, 29 ; joy on receiving, 33 ; rejected, 62 ; 

adorned with, 53 ; refusal of, pretence at, 53 ; acceptance 

of, 60. 
Preservation of skull, 133. 
Pretence at refusal of presents, 53. 
Prevention of vermin in hair, 137. 
Previous encounter cause of hostility, 87. 
Primitive nature, 165. 
Prison, tears in, 47. 
Prisoners, escape of, 60. 

Private parts covered, 143. See Natural Parts and Genital Organs. 
Procellaria eaten, 99. 
Prolificness, 28. 
Promises, no obligation, 63. 
Pronunciation of words, 176. 
Prophetic communication, 69. 
Proportions of extremities and limbs, 211. 
Propulsion of canoe, mode of, 164. 

Protection, of breast, 69; against inclemency of weather, 140. 
Provisions, ignorance of storing, 116. 
Psychology, 29. 

Pteris esculenii {iQUis) as food, 108 ; aquilina as food, 110. 
Pubes, hair on, 14, 15. 
Puberty, males at age of, 127, 138. 
Pulmonary complaints, 22. 
Punctures on skin, 138. 
Punishment for ill usage of females, 55. 
Punk, white fungus from stringy bark, 108. 
Pupil of eye, 9. 
Pupils, intelligence of, 49. 
Purgative, 73. 
Purpura as food, 107. 
Pursuers, decoy of, 89. 
Pursuit, fruitless, 92. 
Pyre, lighting of funeral, 132. 
I^roligneous acid, 144. 

Quarrels, settlement by duel, 72 ; die with extinction, 83. 
Quarry for native implements, 157, 159. 


Quick in own sphere, 31. 
Quickness of perception, 31. 
Quietness of hostile approach, 88. 

Rabbit, man in comparison with, 17. 

Race with girls, 25. 

Radius, 210. 

Raegoo wrapper, 68. 

Raft, 32; vessels called, 162. 

Rage, expressions of, 47. See Anger. 

Rain, roof scarcely resists, 120. 

Rainproof, skill in making, 120, 121. 

Rapid mortality, 173. 

Rapidity in travelling, 25 ; in hiding, 92. 

Raydee (or Numremurhekee), 93. 

Rayfish, abundance and destruction of, 115. 

Readiness to accept presents, 33 ; with handsaws, 37. 

Reclining, 17 ; at meals, 18, 102 ; like a Roman, 18, 20. 

Recognition of divorce, 124. 

Red handkerchief, attraction by, 53. 

Reed, baskets of, 155 ; use of, for canoes, 162. 

Reference to shell mounds, 105. 

Reflection, 39. 

Refusal of presents, pretence at, 53; of bread, 98; of European 

viands, 98 ; of Elephant fish, 101. 
Regnier*s dynamometer, 24. 
Regret, cause of death, 174. 
Regularity of step, 84. 
Rejection of presents, 52 ; of fowls and ducks, 52 ; of certain food, 

74, 75; of clothing in games, 153; of words, 176. 
Relief, medical, grateful for, 64. 
Religious rites, ignorance of, 66, 68. 
Remedies, ashes as, 77. 
Reproduction, 28; and Europeans, 173. 
Resemblance to pillory, 72. 
Resentment, cruelty in, 64 ; of hostility, 66. 
Reserve, towards strangers none, 29. 
Resort for oysters, 105* 
Respect for boundaries, 71, 117. 
Rest on grass, 117. 
Restless expression, 18. 
Retreat, bloodless, 88. 
Return of departed spirits, 67. 
Revenge, 47 ; towards Europeans, 60; display of, 61 ; for injuries, 

64 ; on enemies, 65. 
Rheumatism, 22 ; incision for, 76. 
Richmond, fugitives at, 126. 


Right of hunting grounds, 116. 

Ringarooma, 47. 

Rings drawn on body, 138. 

Ringlets, hair in, 14, 135. 

Rites, religious, ignorance of, 68 ; initiatory, unknown, 127 ; funeraU 

absence of, 134. 
Rivals, conflicts between, 83. 
Roads, beaten paths for, 160. 
Roasting shell-fish, 102 ; meat in skin, 103. 
Robert's vocabulary, 175. 

Robinson collects aborigines, 2 ; his despatches, 3. 
Rock, jump from, 19. 
Roman, comparison with, 18, 20. 
Roof scarcely resists rain, 120 ; made of grass, 121. 
Roots of Umhelliferae as food, 109 ; of bulrush as food, 109. 
Rope of grass or kangaroo skin, 16; how held in climbing, 16; 

from kangaroo sinews, 113 ; climbing by aid of, 114 ; quality 

of, 154 ; kinds of, 154 ; of grass, 154. 
Ross, implements from, 156. 
Rotatory motion, 81. 
Routine of life, simple, 30. 
Rubbing, fire by, 96. 
Ruffles worn by women, 142. 
Rugs, kangaroo, playing on, as drums, 148, 152. 
Running, 21, 23, 25 ; with dogs, 25. 

Saccharine liquor like treacle, 108. 

Sacred stones to cause disease, 77. 

Sacrifice to anger, 61 ; of aborigines to caprice or anger, 171. 

Sailors united to women, 56 ; women attached to, 127. 

Salt, Alkali, ashes for, 103. 

Saltpan Plains, implements from, 157. 

Sarah, half-caste children of, 175. 

Satanic inspiration, 78. 

Satisfaction expressed, 42. 

Savage physiognomy, 36 ; spirit inherent, 62. 

Scaled fish, 74, 75 ; rejected as food, 101, 114. 

Scalpriform implements, 156. 

Scapula, 210. 

Scarceness and shyness of birds, 115. 

Scarcity of huts, 117; of children, 172. 

Scars on chest, 22; on shoulders, etc., 125, 127, 137, 138; from 

husband's ill treatment, 125. See also Cicatrices. 
Scientific description of hair, 14, 221. 
Scott's, Thomas, vocabulary, 175. 
Sea-ears as food, 105. 
Sea tangle, 114. 


Sea weeds as food, 108. 

Sea wrack {Fucus palmaius), 108. 

Seals, selling of women for, 160. 

Sealers, inhumanity of, 61. 

Searching for aborigines at picnics, 171. 

Seasonal migration, 118; scarcity of hcdiotis^ Turbos and Ojrsters, 

Sedgy plant, bags of, 154. 
Selfishness of men, 125. 
Seizure of women, 61. 

Selling of women for seals, 160 ; female children, 167. 
Semicircle, huts in, 121. 
Senses, 26 ; acuteness of, 31. 
Sentries kept, 93. 
Sepulchre. Su Tomb. 
Sermon, 70. 

Serrated edge, absence of, on implements, 156. 
Setting fire to brushwood, 86. 
Sewing, women taught, 49. 
Sex, 44. 

Sexual intercourse with Europeans, result of, 173. 
Settlement, first European, 1, 2 ; of quarrels by duel, 72. 
Settlers, operations against, 30 ; brutality of, 172. 
Shells pierced for necklaces, 33; used in cutting hair, 136; as 

necklaces, 144; as ornaments, 144; strung on sinews, 145; 

as drinking vessels, 166. 
Shellfish only for food, 75, 100, 105, 114; grilled on charcoal, 108; 

detached by chisel, 114, 130. 
Shell-mounds, absence of, 101; reference to, 105; numerous, 107, 

118, 158, Appendix. 
Shelter, in cold weather, 120. 
Sheep, not eaten, 98. 
Shields, 79. 

Shiny things attract children, 35. 
Ships examined, 37. 
Shoulders, 26; fleshy, 11; thrown back, 11, 20; hair on, 15; 

children carried on, 17 ; children suckled over, 12, 17 ; blades 

marked, 138; scarified, 127; and waist covered, 141; covered 

with skin, 142. 
Short hair, 14. 

Shouts of admiration, 137; of joy, 147, 151. 
Shrieking, with dancing, 152. 
Shyness unexpressed, 51 ; expressed, 51. 
Sick, treatment of, 77 ; placed around dead, 78 ; abandonment of, 

73 ; placed around funeral pile, 132. 
Sickness, bleeding for, 76; and death, desire in, 119. 
Sight, good, 21 ; keen, 26, 27. 

INDEX. cm 

Sign of agitation, 39; of friendship, 57, 87; of hostility, 
absence of, 87 ; of joy, stamping, 40 ; of welcome, 73. 

Simple routine of life, 30. 

Sinews, rope of, 113, 154. 

Singing, amusement at, 42; with harmony, 148; at midnight, 

Singular posture of women, 17. 

Sitting, 17; posture in sleep, 18. 

Situation of encampments, 119. 

Size, 9 ; of a muscular savage, 11. 

Skeletons, existing, 191. 

Skill in tracking, 31 ; in bush-fighting, 88; of movements of attack, 
90; display of, in hunting, 112; in making rain-proof, 120, 

Skin, black, 15 ; no sign of disease on, 21 ; reddish, 139 ; 
of chest, designs on, 137; smeared with ochre, 139; white- 
ness of Europeans', surprise at, 38. See also Kangaroo- 

Skinning animals, stones for, 158. 

Skull, not burned, 132 ; placed in cemetery, 132 ; preservation of, 

Skulls, number existing, 191 ; description of, 193. 

Slaughter, indiscriminate, of animals, 48. 

Sleekness of spinsters, 12. 

Sleep, in sitting posture, 18 ; how expressed, 34 ; at sunset, 

Slings, ignorance of, 159. 

Slow pace, 20. 

Smearing with grease, 94. 

Smelling acute, 26, 27. 

Smoke, coiling pillar of. 97. 

Smooth hair, none, 14. 

Smooth trees, how climbed, 16. 

Smutting the body, 139. 

Snakes as food, 100; description of habits, 166. 

Soft hair, 14. 

Soianum laciniatuniy 109. 

Somerset, implements from, 156. 

Songs, to good spirit, 66 ; of death, 132 ; laughter caused by, 147 ; 
harmony of, 149 ; animation of, 149 ; of fights, 149. 

Sooty petrel eaten, 99. 

Sores, 22. 

Sorrow, expression of, 46 ; of last survivors, 174. 

Souls, immortality of, 67 ; England abode of, 68. 

Soup, fat of, smeared on hair, 139. 

Spatula, for taking sea-ears from rocks, 115. 

Spears, dexterity in evading, 19; throwing, 19, 127; posture in 
throwing, 21 ; use of in duel, 72; and waddy, 79; stock of. 


80; poisoned, 80; in foot, 82; held between toes, 18, 89, 91 ; 
barbed, 116; shield and waddie men carry, 126; through 
neck of dead, 131 ; and waddies, throwing, 163; presenting, 
160 ; offish for sport, 116. 

Sphere, quick in own, 31. 

Spies, women as, 62. 

Spinsters, sleek, 12. 

Spiral tufts of hair, 14. 

Spirits, locality of, 66 ; evil, night governed by, 66 ; inferior, belief 
in, 66 ; good, day governed by, 66 ; belief in, 66, 68 ; habita- 
tion of, 67 ; guardian belief in, 67 ; departed, return of, 67 ; 
malevolence of, 67 ; dislike to, 98. 

Spiritual expression, 13. 

Split Rock, implements from, 167. 

Splitting of stone by hand, 166. 

Spring, excursions in, 118. 

Sport, spearing fish for, 116. 

Spurge bark as rope, 164. 

Squatting on heels, 17. 

Stamping, a sign of surprise, 39 ; sign of joy, 40. 

Standing, 18. 

State, future, disbelief in, 68 ; belief in, 68 ; ideas of, 69 ; change 
to whites in, 69. 

Stately gait, 20. 

Stationary during winter, 118. 

Stature, 11, 192, 193. 

Stealing, 68 ; of women for wives, 123. 

Step regular, 84. 

Sterling's, Mr., lost vocabulary, 175. 

Sticks, brandishing in anger, 20 ; art in lajring for fire, 97 ; twisting 
grass with, 164; as guides, 161 ; as paddles, 162. 

Stock of spears, 80. 

Stocker*s Bottom implement quarry, 159. 

Stomach too big, 11 ; inflated, 11, 26; distended, 26. 

Stony Creek tribe, 84. 

Stones, attack with, 86 ; for striking fire, 96 ; shells and glass used 
in cropping, 136; implements, VI. VII. XIV. 156; implements, 
weight of, 166; for skinning animals, 168; knife, weight of, 
168 ; implement workshop, 167 ; for cutting notches, 168, 159 ; 
kinds of, for knives, 169. 

Stopping tears, 127 ; ears at violin playing, 148. 

Story of gloves, 40. 

Storing provisions, ignorance of, 116. 

Strangers, inattention to, 29 ; indiflference to, 73. 

Strength of hands, 26 ; of mind, 76. 

Striking off flakes of implements, 166; flakes of stone, 168, 159. 

String round middle, 99. 

Strips of skin as ornaments, 144. 


Structures, curious, 122. 

Struggle with Frenchman, 24 ; with Europeans, 170. 

Strzelecki's argument unsound, 172. 

Stupid in relation to strange objects, 31. 

Stupidity, expressions of, 59. 

Stumps of trees, imitating, 19. 

Style of contest, 88. 

Submission of females, 56; of women to men, 125. 

Subsistence precarious, 99. 

Success in war, etc., secured by amulet of human ashes, 181. 

Suckling children over shoulders, XIIL, 12, 17 ; puppy, women, 

123, 167. 
Stiffocation of half-caste, 168. 
Sugar, children not allowed, 98. 

Summer, wandering during, 118; clothing cast off in, 142. 
Sun, diurnal motion of, 146. 
Sunset, death at, 132 ; sleep at, 150. 
Superior, observance of, 71. 
Supreme Being, ignorance of, 66. 
Superstitious character, 67. 
Surface, of stone, one only chipped, 159. 
Surprise, not expressed, 29 ; expression of, 82, 40, 45 ; expressed 

by stamping, 39 ; at whiteness of skin, 38 ; at pin, 45 ; at 

glove, 58 ; marches of, 84 ; tactics of, 90 ; and ambush in 

war, 93. 
Surrender, of aborigines, 2 ; through decrepitude, 173. 
Susceptibility to cold, 23 ; to pain, 87 ; to culture, 30 ; to 

civilization, 48. 
Surviving aborigine. Appendix. 
Suspicion, not excited, 90. 
Swamp tea-tree, raft made of, 163, 
Swans, 37 ; acceptance of, 52 ; as food, 100 ; eggs as food, 

Sweetness of girl, 40 ; of voice, 149. 
Swiftness in travelling, 119. 
Swimming, little knowledge of, 163 ; women better than men, 164; 

to propel cataraman, 164 ; men poor at, 165. 
Sympathy from women, 47. 

Taboo, 74. 

Tactics of surprise, 90 ; cleverness in, 93. 

Tailor fashion, sitting, 17. 

Talents, variety of, 54. 

Tapping feet for joy, 20. 

Targets, grass tree stems as, 153. 

Tara-fem as food, 110. 

Tattooing [«c], 137. 

Tea-tree, 79. 


Tears in prison, 47 ; stopping, 127 ; display of, 132. 

Teethy 10 ; holding rope in climbing trees, 16 ; good, 21 ; not 

wanting, 21 ; wanting, 23 ; in upper jaw, 21, 23 ; weapons, 

preparation by, 80 ; extraction of, 128. 
Temper, variety of, 54. 
Temperament, 49. 

Temperature variable, 21 ; changes of, 22. 
Terra del Fuego, comparison with natives of, 29. 
Terror of night, 69, 117. 
Tesiaceae, supply of, 106. 
Tibia, 211 ; til;)io-femoral index, 212. 
Time beating, correctness of, 149. 
Time devoted to chipping stone, 157 ; occupied in chipping flint, 

158 ; length of, under water, 164. 
Timidity, 50 ; of disposition, 92. 
Timorese, comparison with, 25. 
Tinder for producing fire, 96. 
Thatched huts, 122. 
Theft of baskets, 52 ; committed, 58, 63 ; few, 58 ; attempt of, 59 ; 

of useless articles, 89 ; of flour, 98. 
Theology, 69. 

Thighs scarified, 127 ; marked with lines, 139. 
Thirds in music, correctness in, 148, 149. 
Thomas, Captain, death of, 95. 
Thorax, 206. 
Thoughtful features, 13. 
Thumbs, not used in climbing, 16 ; position of, when using stone, 

Thunder, 68 ; and lightning dance, 151. 
Thrashing Europeans, 88. 
Threads of bark, 154. 
Threats, boisterous, 84. 
Throwing spears, 19 ; spears, posture in, 21 ; waddies and spears, 

153; sticks, 79. 
Tobacco accepted, 160. 
Toe, used in climbing, 16 ; spears trailed by, 18 ; spear held be<^ 

tween, 89, 91 ; in notch, in climbing, 113; loss of, 127. 
Tokens of affection, 77 ; bones as, 144. 

Tomahawk, instead of ladder, 113; use of, 115, 157, 158, 159. 
Tomb, discovery of, 128, 129 ; account of, 130, XI. 
Tools, learn use of European, 62. 
Topinard on origin, 216. 
Topography, 165. 
Torch, 96. 
Totemism, 75. 
Tortures, enjoyment of, 66. 
Tracking, powers of, 27; cattle, 27 ; skill in, 31, 93; of men and 

animals, 161. 

INDEX. evil 

Trade or barter, ignorance of, 160. 

Trailing spear with toes, 18. 

Train oil for drinking, 99. 

Transfer of aborigines from Flinders Island to Oyster Cove, 2. 

Travel with rapidity, 26; in March, 118; swiftness in, 119; by 

night, 119. 
Treachery of character, 61, 62 ; of conduct, 59, 60, 63, 89, 90, 91 ; 

consummate, 92 ; deliberate, 92 ; display of, 44, 58 ; of dis- 
position, 62, 63, 86; expressions of, 13. 
Treatment of women, ill, 54 ; in defence, 61 ; of Europeans, 62 ; 

of sick, 77 ; of wives, 126. 
Tree climbing, 15, 17, 157; vigour necessary for, 16; stumps, 

imitating, 19; notches in, 114, 157; hollowing of, by fire, 

Trespass, cause of war, 71 ; of Europeans, 83. 
Tribes, led by chief, 94 ; fugitive, tracked, 27 ; hostility of, 83 ; 

list of, 165. 
Tribal dissensions, 88. 
Trick, waggish, 36. 
Trunk, 26; of trees for canoes, 163. 
Truffle, or native bread, 108, 109. 
Truganina or Lalla Rookh, XIII. ; death of, 2. 
Tucker, Thomas, attack on, 90. 
Tufted pellets and spirals of hair, 14. 
Tubercles on skin, 138. 
Turbos, seasonal scarcity of, 118. 
Twigs round ankles, etc. 152. 
Twisting, tendency of hair, 14 ; grass with sticks, 154. 

Ulna, 210. 

Umhra^ or spirit, 67. 

Umbilical cord, 23. 

Unamiable expression, 63. 

Unadorned state, 153. 

Unappeased vengeance, 94. 

Uncertainty of negotiations, 71 ; of councils, 71 ; of authority, 71 ; 

of control of chiefs, 71. 
Uncircumcised, 128. 

Uncongenial residence at Flinders Island, 173. 
Underlip, 10. 

Understanding, acuteness of, lacking, 29. 
Unerring aim, 81, 82. 
Ungratefulness of conduct, 60. 
Unkindness to women, 126.; 
Unmolested, dead, 94. 
Unoriginality of belief in good, 68. 
Upper jaw in children, 10; teeth in, 21, 23. 


Value of dogs, 123, 167. 

Variable temperature, 21 ; climate, 22. 

Variety of talent and temper, 64. 

Vegetables, 22; named 37; edible, 108. 

Vengeance unappeased, 94. 

Vertebral column, 205. 

Vermin, abundance and destruction of, 123 ; prevention of, in hair; 

Vessels of sea-weed, water in, 102 ; for drinking, 166. 
Victims, unsuspecting, destruction of, 92. 
Victorian- Australians, use of baskets by, 156. 
Vigour, necessary for tree climbing, 16 ; want of, 24. 
Violence of attack, 85 ; of dance, 151. 
Vindictiveness displayed, 47. 
Vinegar used for cleaning shells, 144. 
Vision, keen, 27. See Sight. 
Vocabulary, copious, 31, 175. 
Voice, sweetness of, 149 ; melodiousness of, 149. 
Voracious devouring of food, 99. 

Waddy, 18, 80. 

Waggish trick, 36. 

Waists, twigs round, 152. 

Waistcoat, desire for, 59. 

Wallaby, 74, 75 ; as food, 100. 

Wanderings during summer, 118. 

Want of vigour, 24. 

Wanton savage spirit inherent, 62. 

War, intertribal, 19; trespass, cause of, 71; internecine, 83; un- 
accompanied by children, 89; improvement in, 49; of ex- 
termination, 60, 170 ; arts of, 83 ; colonist, cause of, 83 ; 
misunderstanding, cause of, 85 ; ambush and surprise in, 

Warlike, 79 ; disposition, 94. 

Warwhoop, 88. 

Warrior, beldame taunting, 152. 

Warrawah, 67. 

Warrenah {Turbo), as food, 107. 

Watching of habitation with hostile intent, 92. 

Water, knowledge of locality of, 27 ; in vessels of seaweed, 102 ; 
boiled, ignorance of, 108; carrying, ignorance of, 119; 
time under, in diving, 164 ; destitute of, at Flinders Island, 

Water- worn stone for chipping, 157. 

Weapons, 46 ; dead unaccompanied by, 68 ; crude, 79 ; preparation 
of, 78, 80 ; effectiveness of, 81. 

Weather, cold, 21 ; exposure to, 22 ; changes, precautions against, 
139 ; good judges of, 163. 


Westbury, implements from, 156. 

Weeping, 46. 

Weights of children, 12 ; of stone implements, 156 ; of stone 
knife, 158. 

Welcome, signs of, 73. 

Wells, ignorance of making, 119. 

West, Thomas, the historian, 2. 

Weymerricke, a chief, 188. 

Whalers, 2. 

White devils, 68 ; fungus or punk, 108 ; men in future state, 69. 

Whiteness of skin, surprise at, 38. 

White people. See Europeans. 

Whiskers, 14, 137. 

Wicker-work, canoes of, 121 ; huts of, 121. 

Wild animals, comparison with, 29 ; expression, 13; life attach- 
ment to, 119; preference for, 48. 

William White and the first massacre, 87. 

Winter, stationary during, 118. 

Wire-grass rope, 154 ; for baskets, 155. 

Wives, exchange of, for bread, 55 ; stolen from neighbours, 123 ; 
treatment of, 125. See also Women. 

Wombat as food, 100; fat used on hair, 136; crossing water, 

Women, ages given, 12; repulsive, 11, 13; better formed than 
men, 12 ; passably good-looking, 13 ; tree climbing, 16 ; 
singular posture in sitting, 17; escape through chimney, 20; 
on tree branch, 20 ; watch the Frenchmen, 34 ; encountered 
by Europeans, 42 ; sympathy from, 47 ; taught to sew, 49 ; 
boldness of, 51; ill-treatment of, 54; chastity of, 55; united 
to sailors, 56 ; compelled to visit Europeans, 56 ; victims of 
cruelty, 61 ; seizure of, 61 ; escaped from fire, 64 ; assassina- 
tion of, 64 ; as spies, 62 ; kindness of, 64 ; secreted, 84 ; and 
children, presence of, 87 ; led an attack, 89 ; absent from war 
expedition, 89 ; set to watch, 92 ; left behind in time of war, 
93 ; climbing of trees by, 112 ; diving for haliotis and crayfish, 
114; in hunting excursions, 116; used as drudges, 116, 125 ; 
as beasts of burden, 119, 125 ; suckling puppy, 123 ; bigamists, 
124 ; care to avoid jealousy, 125 ; carrying dogs, 125 ; 
subordination to men, 125 ; cruelty to, 126 ; huts built by, 126 ; 
European relations with, 126; kindness to, 126; unkindness 
to, 126 ; catamaran built by, 126; attachment to sailors, 127 ; 
scarified, 137; abdomen marked, 141; singing, 148; hymn 
sung by, 149 ; exchanged for bread, 160; selling of, for seals, 
160; good swimmers, 164; procure food by diving, 164; offer 
to save European from drowning, 165 ; swam three miles, 165 ; 
chained up by Europeans, 171 ; man's head hung on to, 171 ; 
brutal punishment by Europeans, 172; Europeans thought to 
be, 86. See also Beldame. 

ex INDEX. 

Wommeras, ignorance of. 79. 

Woolly. See Hair. 

Words, rejection of, 176; pronunciation of, 176. 

Workboxes, theft of, 89. 

Workshop, for stone implements, discovery of, 157. 

Wounds, exposure to, 21. 

Wrestling, 58 ; cause of offence, 85 ; with Frenchman, 23, 24. 

Wrist, covered with skin, 142; twigs round, 152. 

Xanthorrhoea ausiralis as food, 110. 

Yellowish white hair, 14. 


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